ELIDA — Four Elida High School students are being heralded as heroes today for alerting the Allen County Sheriff’s Office that a former student told them to avoid going to school on Sept. 1 because he was going to “shoot it up.”
Their actions lead to the arrest of Tristan Ascura, 19, of Lima who was taken into custody at 1:53 a.m. Thursday, just over three hours after the threat was reported at 10:40 p.m. Wednesday.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau discovered an AR-15 rifle and 500 rounds of 0.556 caliber ammunition in Ascura’s possession. Detective Ryan Ream said they also found a single clip loaded with ammunition, though it’s possible he had other clips not readily visible.
Ascura is being held at the Allen County Jail on charges of inducing panic, a second-degree felony.
Joel Mengerink, superintendent for Elida Schools, said he and others are proud the four students stepped forward. “Their actions in this are heroic,” he said.
Ascura had not attended Elida High School since early April and had been administratively withdrawn from school because of lack of attendance, said Mengerink. He said school administration will be watching the legal proceedings with Ascura progress and make determinations on any safety changes for the fall depending on how those proceedings turn out.
Detective Ream said after receiving the call about the threat, he arrived at the sheriff’s office around midnight. He then interviewed each of the four students separately and their stories all matched. Deputies then proceeded to Ascura’s residents where they took him into custody without any incident.
“Our office doesn’t waste any time going after these people and we’re never going to,” said Administrative Lt. Andre McConnahea, public information officer for the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. “We’re going to charge them every time.”
“They’ve (the sheriff’s office detective bureau) really become experts at tracking these things back,” McConnahea said. “In almost by any means threats are made, they’re become really good at checking the digital fingerprints and tracking them back to the individuals.”
Because the threat was made so late at night and the suspect was taken into custody so quickly, the Elida Schools administration wasn’t informed of the threat until Thursday morning, he said.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362