Contact Bill Gay 760-427-2314
IMPERIAL – At a press conference today at Imperial Valley College, college and sheriff's officials assured staff and students that the campus was opened today only after a man accused of making threats against IVC had been arrested and there was no danger to students.
"IVC is committed to insuring the safety of our students and employees," said Sergio Lopez, Imperial Valley College's interim vice president for Student Services. He said counselors and a crisis team have been made available to help students suffering from anxiety or other issues as a result of the threat, which was well-publicized on social media.
A man accused of making the threat was arrested three hours after authorities were notified.
"Based on our investigation, we were not able to discover anything to make this a real threat," said Imperial County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jimmy Duran. "We do not believe (students) are in any danger based on the outcome of this investigation."
The threat was made on Facebook on Wednesday and reported to authorities shortly after 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. IVC posted a message on the College's Facebook account soon after midnight to alert students and staff of the threat, a second post was made shortly after 3 a.m. of the decision to keep the campus open. An email was additionally sent out to the campus community.
The incident began Wednesday night after IVC staff began receiving calls from students about the Facebook post, Lopez said. "We were able to ascertain an address," he said, crediting the community, staff, students and the Sheriff's Office for a quick resolution.
The man accused of making the threats was identified by the Sheriff's Office as Raymond Martinez, 18, who was taken into custody about 1:30 a.m. today at his home in Calexico, Duran said. Martinez was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats.
There appears to be no clear motive, said Duran. No weapons were found at the home, Duran said, "and we determined he did not have access to weapons." The investigation is continuing.
Attendance today appeared to be down, Lopez said, but by how much is not yet known.
"We will probably have a better idea tomorrow," he said.
For students who opted to stay home today, faculty has been given the option of allowing students to take makeup tests, Lopez said, although that decision is being left up to each instructor.
The college has been reviewing its safety procedures and policies in the wake of recent attacks on college campuses in other parts of the United States. Last week, IVC students and staff were sent information by email detailing what to do in the event of an active shooting event, as well as how to contact campus security.
The college has a policy forbidding weapons, including firearms, knives and explosives. A state law was signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown outlawing handguns on campuses throughout the state, excluding those carried current or retired law enforcement officers.