Authorities in New Mexico say a custodian at the Barcelona Elementary School in Albuquerque is facing criminal charges after allegedly chasing a group of kids around campus at gunpoint.
According to KRQE, Ray Lopez was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of counts including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful carrying of a weapon on school grounds.
A police report claims Lopez told investigators that he believed the group of children were attempting to break into an area on school property. He said the portable structures nearby had been targeted in previous burglaries.
Six students also detained at the scene told authorities that they were simply trying to pose for photographs at the location when the custodian gave chase and threatened them with a handgun.
“I’m gonna shoot you!” Lopez allegedly yelled at the children. “Do you wanna die tonight?”
Police did not immediately release the age range of the children involved.
Lopez has been advised of the charges against him, his lawyer said during a preliminary court appearance.
A judge declared that he is also “not to possess firearms or dangerous weapons” prior to his release Saturday on his own recognizance.
According to a school district spokesperson, Lopez has been an employee for nearly two years and has been placed on leave following his arrest.
Kitty Miller, who lives near the school, said she was deeply concerned by the incident.
“I’m a gun owner but I believe in regulation and background checks, and I do not believe school employees should be armed on school campuses,” she said.
[Featured image: Ray Lopez, handout]