“Somebody’s gonna get shot” were the words that sparked a “lockout” of local schools last Thursday and resulted in the arrest of a longtime Gunnison Watershed RE1J School District employee.
Patrick Robinson, 44, reportedly told a fellow employee at Gunnison High School (GHS) as much while smelling of alcohol and complaining that he’s not appreciated by co-workers.
Robinson is the psychologist for the district. He’s charged with one count of interference with staff, facility, or students of educational institutions, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
GHS staff alerted authorities of the alleged threat, and at about 9:15 a.m. Thursday, all RE1J schools were placed on lockout, meaning the perimeter is secured as a preventative measure when potential danger is outside the school building. Instruction continues but no one is allowed to exit buildings. In accordance with district protocol, parents were notified and asked not to contact their students, the school district or authorities, or arrive at the schools.
“Staff and students quickly and professionally followed protocol, and staff was in constant contact with local law enforcement,” Superintendent Doug Tredway said in an e-mail to parents. “At no time were students in direct danger, and we tried to communicate with parents in a timely manner.”
According to the affidavit in support of a warrantless arrest, employees told police Robinson arrived at school around 8:40 a.m. Thursday morning. They noted Robinson was "stumbling and mumbling" and appeared angry. He reportedly spilled his coffee while leaving the office area, and when asked to clean up the spill, Robinson cursed, indicating he didn't need the admonishment. Employees described Robinson as having bloodshot eyes, adding that he "did not seem to be in control of his emotions."
Subsequently, Robinson was contacted by another employee in the high school’s hallway who reported smelling alcohol on Robinson's breath, and that he looked "'rough,' like he had been up all night." The employee reportedly told police that Robinson said others didn't appreciate what he does and then made the alleged threat before leaving the building.
Just before 10 a.m., the arrest affidavit states, a Gunnison County Sheriff's deputy located Robinson's truck parked outside his residence on Cactus Hill Drive northeast of Gunnison. Entrance to Cactus Hill was closed by law enforcement during the late morning Thursday. Officers from the Gunnison Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Patrol, Mt. Crested Butte Police, Crested Butte Marshal's Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Crested Butte Fire Protection District were on scene.
Just before noon, authorities observed Robinson had exited his home and was in his yard. Law enforcement officers moved in from two directions, cutting a wire gate to gain access.
Court records indicate Robinson and another man, Edward Quinn IV — who was subsequently arrested on an unrelated charge — were seen walking eastward away from the home. Authorities determined there was probable cause to arrest of Robinson and approached the home.
Quinn, 35, "reluctantly replied" to authorities’ commands for the men to stop, according to the affidavit, but "Robinson yelled back and did not follow commands." Authorities told the men to lie on the ground — the affidavit indicates Quinn complied, but Robinson did not. One officer noted seeing that "Robinson's hands moved inside his shirt, near his waistband, and behind his body."
Robinson eventually complied, kneeling but refusing to lay down, according to authorities. Both men were taken into custody. Quinn's arrest was due to non-related bond condition violations. Robinson reportedly had a blood alcohol content of .124 percent at the time of his arrest.
Tredway indicated in an e-mail to parents early Friday that “the threat made yesterday was general in nature and not directed at an individual or a specific school.” Still, law enforcement maintained an increased presence at Gunnison and Crested Butte schools Friday, the last day of school prior to winter break.
Tredway said Robinson — a 16-year employee of RE1J — has been placed on paid administrative leave. Robinson appeared in court via videoconference from the jail Friday to answer to the charge.
“I’m not a violent person,” he said. “I never planned to be a violent person.”
To be released from jail, Robinson was required to post a $1,500 bond and pass a mental health screening and other stipulations. However, detention center staff reported late Tuesday that Robinson was transferred to a facility in Grand Junction.
Other terms of his release from jail included that he abstain from using alcohol; remain at least 500 feet from a RE1J school, as well as Western State Colorado University and Hinsdale County schools; relinquish any firearms that he owns or is in possession of; and not harass or intimidate a potential witness.
Robinson's next court date is Jan. 11 at 9 a.m.