LIMA — The teenager who allegedly threatened to “shoot it up” at Elida schools later this fall made his first in-person appearance Wednesday in Lima Municipal Court.
Tristan Ascura, 19, of Lima, voluntarily waived his right to a preliminary hearing — typically used to determine whether sufficient probable cause exists to advance a case through the legal system — and was bound over to next term of the Allen County grand jury. He faces a second-degree felony charge of inducing panic.
Magistrate Richard Warren ordered bond for Ascura to be continued at $500,000. Defense attorney William Kluge argued for a reduction in his client’s bond. Kluge told the court Ascura — who is of Filipino descent and is a naturalized American citizen — has strong family support and could continue working at his current place of employment while wearing an ankle bracelet if the bond were lowered.
“Tristan has no prior criminal history and we’re not even sure what was reported to law enforcement and what caused the police to go to his house,” Kluge said in arguing for the bond reduction. “He does not represent a threat to this community.”
But Prosecuting Attorney Juergen Waldick disagreed.
“He posed a threat to the school and an assault rifle with 500 or 600 rounds of ammunition was seized from his home. We feel he does present a danger to the community,” the prosecutor said in requesting the $500,000 bond be continued.
Ascura was taken into custody early on the morning of June 7, hours after four Elida High School students told sheriff’s deputies he urged them to avoid going to school on Sept. 1 because he was going to “shoot it up.”
During the course of their investigation, deputies discovered an AR-15 rifle and 500 rounds of 0.556 caliber ammunition in Ascura’s possession. The former Elida student was taken into custody at 1:53 a.m. Thursday, some three hours after the threat was first reported.
Ascura initially appeared by video in municipal court Friday for a bond hearing.
He had not attended Elida High School since early April and had been administratively withdrawn from the district because of lack of attendance, Elida Superintendent of Schools Joel Mengerink said at the time of Ascura’s arrest.
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU