A Gunnison Watershed RE1J School District employee arrested Thursday after allegedly making a threatening statement appeared in court early Friday afternoon. He faces a single count of interference with staff, faculty or students of educational institutions, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Patrick Robinson, a 16-year employee of RE1J and psychologist for local schools, has posted bond and was cleared to be released from jail, providing that he passes a mental health screening and meets other stipulations. Superintendent Doug Tredway said Robinson is still employed by the district but has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Local schools were placed on precautionary “lock out” for much of the day Thursday after Robinson allegedly made the threatening statement. 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.”
Regardless, Tredway indicated that law enforcement would have an increased presence at Gunnison and Crested Butte schools Friday, the last day of school prior to winter break.
A statement from the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office indicates that Robinson entered Gunnison High School about 9:20 a.m. Thursday morning “and made threatening statements that caused alarm.” Staff alerted authorities and all RE1J schools immediately went on “lock out” as a precaution.
“Staff and students quickly and professionally followed protocol, and staff was in constant contact with local law enforcement. At no time were students in direct danger, and we tried to communicate with parents in a timely manner,” said Tredway.
Robinson was subsequently located at his home on Cactus Hill immediately adjacent to the City of Gunnison. Entrance to Cactus Hill was closed by law enforcement during the late morning Thursday. Officers from The Gunnison Sheriff's Office, 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 received a report that the suspect had left his home and was in his yard, said Gunnison County Sheriff Rick Besecker. Law enforcement officers moved in from two directions, cutting a wire gate to gain access. Authorities contacted Robinson on his porch. Shouting could be heard, which Besecker later confirmed was Robinson.
After about 20 minutes, Robinson was taken into custody. All schools were reopened after Robinson’s arrest.
“Local law enforcement and the schools train and communicate for these situations. Having a rapid response plan for the schools helps to ensure student and staff safety while law enforcement can look into the situation and determine a proper response,” said Gunnison Police Chief Keith Robinson.
Officers also arrested Edward Quinn IV near Robinson’s residence, due to non-related bond condition violations.
RE1J’s website lists Robinson as the school psychologist. Terms of Robinson's release from jail also include 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 harrass or intimidate a potential witness.
Robinson's next court date is Jan. 11 at 9 a.m. Look for more on this incident in next week's Gunnison Country Times.