Gunnison Police Department reports indicate several red flags were raised in recent years involving a man whose alleged threat last month led to the lock-out of area schools.
Former Gunnison Watershed RE1J School District psychologist Patrick Robinson, 44, was arrested Dec. 21 after reportedly telling a Gunnison High School employee, "Somebody's gonna get shot." Authorities were notified and schools were placed on lock-out. Under such a precautionary measure, the perimeter of buildings are secured. Instruction continues, but students and staff are not allowed to exit, and the public is barred from entering.
Robinson was arrested following an hours-long stake out of his home by authorities. He is charged with one count of interference with staff, facility or students of educational institutions, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Superintendent Doug Tredway announced at the School Board meeting Monday that Robinson was sent a termination letter that day. Robinson’s firing is subject to a post-termination hearing, he said, and therefore he declined to comment on the reason for the action.
Three separate police reports show community members voiced concerns to both police and district administrators about statements Robinson made. In addition, a witness in one of the reports told School Board Monday about his concerns, requesting a change in policy.
However, none of the reports resulted in charges against Robinson.
Gunnison resident Tom Keating described an incident involving Robinson in September 2015 from which Keating filed a police report. According to the complaint, Keating was approached at a local bar by Robinson, who began to discuss government intrusion. Robinson reportedly said he had prepared himself for a totalitarian government and possessed numerous firearms.
Robinson told Keating he would "have (Keating’s) back" if the government overstepped its authority, the report states. Keating was disturbed by the incident and reported it to Gunnison Middle School Principal Todd Witzel.
Keating told School Board that he permitted Witzel to use his name with the understanding that the middle school principal was going to speak to Tredway. However, Keating said, he did not know Tredway would reveal his name to Robinson — which the superintendent did.
‘We will certainly have deliberations’
Following a conversation between Tredway and Robinson — which the superintendent described as relating to "public demeanor" — Keating said Robinson contacted him through social media.
"Karma is a bitch buddy. I'll see you around," the police report states Robinson wrote to Keating.
Keating said he contacted Tredway following the message, and that Tredway said it was his policy to provide the names of people who make complaints against staff.
School Board policy states, "The employee's right to face the person who made the complaint shall be protected."
Superintendent Tredway indicated Keating's name was passed on to Robinson because of miscommunication between Witzel and Tredway.
"I own that," Tredway told the Times. "I thought I had permission to use his name."
Keating told the board that he no longer was concerned about his safety, but he wanted action to be taken to prevent a similar situation from occurring.
"Something that I predicted happened," said Keating. "The policies made it so nothing was done. What I'm here for now is to question these policies and see what's going to change. I'm now concerned, are there more people in this school district like this who are unstable but are in the system?"
School Board President LeeAnn Mick thanked Keating for his comments, adding “we will certainly have deliberations.”
Other reports reflect pattern
However, two other police reports indicate Robinson made statements on social media which raised community concerns. In February 2015, a police report states an anonymous party provided police with three pages of statements by Robinson on social media. One of the entries stated, "I will kill all of you here, you (expletive) cowards."
Department records reflect that police met with Robinson and Tredway about the matter. Robinson told police his posts were a form of "venting," and that he had been drinking moonshine, was highly intoxicated and "out of his mind.”
Robinson told police he was not a violent person and would be more careful about what he posts online.
Also in January 2013, another anonymous caller reported to police Robinson had posted online that officers in the Greenwood Lake Police Department in New York "needed to die, and kill themselves."
The caller told police she was concerned because Robinson attended a concert in Greenwood Lake and was arrested. She said she believed Robinson owned guns, and she was unsure if something would happen. The caller said Robinson drank heavily and used marijuana regularly.
The police report does not indicate further action was taken.
(Chris Rourke can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)