EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Monday was just like any other summer school day as students took their final regents exams, but things took a dangerous turn on the bus ride home when an 18-year-old student showed off a loaded handgun he had brought to school.
Manlius Police Sargent Ken Hatter said Elijah Cruz Ogando didn’t say anything about the gun or show anyone until he was on the bus. That’s when witnesses say he showed off the gun to another student and said he was going to shoot the bus driver and shoot up the school the following day.
“The student that was told about this told the bus driver and the bus driver ultimately told our school resource officer and that’s how we became involved,” Sgt. Hatter said.
Within three hours of Manlius Police being notified, Cruz Ogando was arrested at his home and a search warrant located the .22 caliber handgun and ammunition he illegally possessed.
Cruz Ogando was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and other charges.
Sgt. Hatter said this situation could have ended much worse if it wasn’t for the courageous bravery of the student who saw something and said something.
ESM Schools Superintendent Dr. Donna DeSiato said this incident hit too close to home, especially just three weeks before the start of a new school year.
“We want our community to know and to believe that our schools are a safe space. In order to do that we continue to need to enhance our security efforts,” she said.
Dr. DeSiato said school safety has always been a top priority and they’ve been working all summer to bolster their security. Since the incident occurred, she’s had numerous meetings with school officials and is looking at new technologies the school may be able to utilize to reduce the chance of something like this from happening again.
Manlius Police also petitioned for an extreme risk protection order under the state’s Red Flag Law which was granted by a judge. This will prevent the teen from legally possessing or purchasing any firearms in the future. Manlius Police also obtained Cruz Ogando’s cell phone and are forensically examining it. Police don’t believe the teen will be returning to ESM in the Fall.
Cruz Ogando is being held in the Onondaga County Justice Center and his case is scheduled to be presented to a Grand Jury sometime Friday.