Prosecutors seek limits on ex-Akins student accused of plotting attack

Travis County prosecutors Sunday were seeking to add conditions to the release on bond of a former Akins High School student who is charged with threatening the South Austin campus.

Amid concerns from parents, school leaders and law enforcement, officials questioned the decision by a magistrate judge to set the bond for 17-year-old Ariel Alex Ramirez Navarro at $15,000 with no restrictions. He is charged with making a terroristic threat, a felony for which he faces up to 10 years in prison.

District Attorney Margaret Moore said prosecutors are proposing restrictions that include an order that Navarro must stay away from the campus, undergo a psychiatric examination and have no weapons. They also will recommend that he receive a GPS monitoring device so officials can track his whereabouts.

“I was appalled to learn there were no conditions put on the original bond,” Moore said in a statement.

According to an arrest affidavit, Navarro threatened to “shoot and blow up” the campus Thursday, a week after a deadly mass shooting at a South Florida high school captivated the nation’s attention and put students and parents across the country on edge.

Police on Thursday arrested Navarro, who until recent weeks had attended Akins. They said they found ammunition and a loaded magazine but no weapon in his bag.

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His release from the Travis County Jail the day after his arrest renewed safety concerns and raised questions about how Navarro was being monitored.

School officials contacted Travis County First Assistant District Attorney Mindy Montford over the weekend, which prompted prosecutors to research the case and learn that Navarro had no restrictions.

Austin Municipal Judge Celeste Villarreal, who set Navarro’s bond, did not return calls or emails seeking comment Sunday. Judges in Travis County set a defendant’s bond based on a variety of factors, including a suspect’s criminal history, but typically do not have input from prosecutors or defense attorneys prior to doing so.

Under the law, a magistrate who set a bond can add conditions with no hearing if he or she learns of new information about a defendant or if a defendant’s attorney agrees.

State District Judge Brenda Kennedy has appointed attorney Jon Evans to represent Navarro. He declined to comment Sunday.

Austin schools spokesman Reyne Telles said in a statement, “In regard to the suspect in the Akins incident being released on bond, yes, the district and school staff have received a fair share of community feedback and heightened concerns. Safety is our top priority at Austin ISD, and we value the relationship and support we often receive from our government partners and community members in assisting our efforts.”

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Reported threats on Thursday led to an hours-long lockdown at the school.

An arrest affidavit filed on Friday said Navarro was a former student at Akins, but was no longer enrolled because of a lack of attendance.

The document said students went to school authorities on Thursday morning after getting off of a school bus and told them that Navarro had shown them weapons and ammunition.

The report said Navarro had a loaded magazine, ammunition and smoke bombs.

“The witnesses had asked the suspect what he was going to do with the items in his backpack and his response to them was, ‘I’m gonna shoot up and blow up the school,’ ” the affidavit said.

After learning of the threat, administrators ordered students and teachers to shelter in place while officers searched the campus, Navarro’s home and workplace.

Police later found and arrested Navarro at the South Park Meadows shopping center.

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