Screenshot: NBC 7 San Diego/Youtube
A potentially catastrophic event was averted at Rancho Bernardo High School when officials took swift action after learning of threats made by a student. The student and his father have been taken into custody, according to the Poway Unified School District, ABC 10News reported.
Rancho Bernardo High School, or RBHS, is a public high school in the Poway Unified School District of San Diego County, California.
Christine Paik, Chief Communications Officer for the Poway Unified School District, informed ABC 10News that the student was apprehended by the authorities last Friday, January 26.
The arrest followed an alarming series of events that began with vigilant students reporting unsettling videos and statements made among students detailing a planned attack on the school slated for Tuesday, January 30.
“This is a situation where everything went right,” Paik said.
“The students saw some videos, they heard some statements that were really concerning, and I think by what was found in the search warrant, those fears were valid.”
Upon receiving the concerning reports, school officials did not hesitate to contact the San Diego Police Department (SDPD).
“Late yesterday afternoon we were notified by students that they had witnessed another student showing concerning videos and making threatening statements against others and the school. Law enforcement was contacted immediately and launched an investigation yesterday evening,” read a letter from Principal Hans Becker per NBC San Diego.
“After deputies met with the student, they were taken into custody and all families of impacted students were notified. We want to assure you we will be working very closely with law enforcement and the city attorney’s office to address the matter appropriately, according to PUSD and police procedures. We appreciate our partners taking this very seriously.”
“I want to commend the students who acted responsibly by reporting what they heard. Please use this opportunity to remind your children, if they see something, say something to continue to keep our community safe through our collective vigilance.”
The unidentified student was subsequently arrested and taken to juvenile hall on suspicion of making the threats.
Following the student’s arrest, a Gun Violence Restraining Order was issued. The San Diego Police Department conducted a thorough search at the juvenile’s residence. This investigation led to the startling discovery of numerous firearms and potentially hazardous materials.
“The teen’s parents were contacted regarding the incident. A Gun Violence Restraining Order was issued and served to the juvenile. A search warrant was obtained and served at the juvenile’s residence to secure any firearms they may have access to,” the authorities said.
In a subsequent development, Neal Anders, the 45-year-old father of the accused student, was arrested on Monday and booked into San Diego County jail on several charges.
A detailed search of the Anders’ residence unearthed an alarming array of weapons and materials, including ghost guns, bomb-making components, emergency food supplies, and multiple computers. San Diego Fire’s Bomb Squad also removed an RPG rocket launcher from the house.
“You look at multiple assault rifles, shotguns, handguns, a grenade launcher…” SDPD Chief David Nisleit told ABC 10 News. “This had the making to be a very violent act, so that’s why I’m very proud that we’re able to stop this type of stuff.”
“The San Diego Police Department takes all reports of potential threats to our schools and public very seriously. SDPD’s Northeastern Division, Ghost Gun Team, MAST and Threat Management Unit worked tirelessly and collaboratively in this case to ensure the safety of the students at Rancho Bernardo High School and all residents. I commend them for their outstanding work.”
Neal Anders now faces multiple charges, including possession of illegal firearms and manufacturing assault weapons, and is being held on $300,000 bail.