Magnolia West HS student arrested after threatening videos posted to social media

School beefs up security on campus

By Cathy Hernandez - Reporter, Jake Reiner - Reporter

MAGNOLIA, Texas - A Magnolia ISD student has been arrested for comments he made in a video that details a plan to shoot students on the campus of Magnolia West High School, the Montgomery County Precinct 5 Constable's Office said Friday.

Deputy Constables arrested Thomas Cade Martin, 19, Thursday night, officials said. Martin has been charged with Terroristic Threat, a felony, according to constables.

Video obtained by KPRC2 shows a person identified as Martin detailing a plan for a school shooting.

"I would walk outside and I would go back to the top of the woods and grab my gun and go back to the bleachers," Martin can be heard and seen saying in the video, which officials said was recorded by other students on campus. He goes on in the video saying, "Three football fields is the length of the way from the top of the bleachers where my shooting position would be and the front door of the high school. Then when the bombs exploded peolple would come running out and I would have a perfect shot."

Magnolia ISD confirmed to KPRC2 that Martin is also enrolled as a student at Magnolia West High School. A Facebook profile picture of Thomas Cade Martin shows, and authorities confirmed,  he was a part of the school's junior ROTC program.

Officials said they were investigating a motive, but spoke to Martin who told them the ordeal was a misunderstanding.

Martin also posted a comment that detailed what he said took place. The page was taken down as of Friday morning, but KPRC2 obtained a copy of the post from investigators.

In it, Martin wrote that his alleged plan was part of a conversation with friends on campus about whether a shooting could take place.

"I proceeded to explain how a shooting could easily be done. I told the story in first person... while not knowing I was being recorded," Martin posted. "People who know me know I would never do such a terrible thing."

Parents of students enrolled in Magnolia West High School said the school district informed them of the threat Thursday night, after it had been thwarted. Still, some had questions about precautions being taken.

"It's a harsh lesson," said Janet Epperson, who lives near the Martin family and has a son enrolled at Magnolia West. She kept her son home Friday, but she said she wished Magnolia ISD alerted parents sooner when officials learned of the threat Thursday.

"I heard about it. I'm still trying to find answers," said Arnold Schnuelle, whose daughter is in ninth grade.

"I haven't dropped off my daughter yet. I was just checking it out," Schnuelle said.

Both Precinct 5 Constable's Office and Magnolia ISD said campus was safe, noting Deputy Constables along with Montgomery County Sheriff's Office's Crime Reduction Unit searched campus Thursday night, with help from bomb-sniffing K9s.

"The security of our community, students and campus is the utmost priority of our department," said Constable David Hill.

Officials said they added additional officers to patrol campus Friday, as a precautions. Parents welcomed the additional support.

"I think it is for a while just till things calm down," said parent Betty Mejia.

Channel 2 asked Magnolia ISD at what time did district officials know about the threat and when they alerted teachers and parents.

"Since this matter is still under investigation by local law enforcement, I am currently not at liberty to comment further regarding details of the investigation," Director of Communications at Magnolia ISD Denise Meyers said in a written statement.

Magnolia ISD released the following statement:

"On Thursday afternoon, February 11, Magnolia ISD administrators were made aware of a video posted by a Magnolia West High School student. School administrators immediately contacted Precinct 5 of Montgomery County Constable’s Office due to the serious nature and the threatening manner of the video. The Constable’s Office has thoroughly investigated any potential security threat on campus and has deemed Magnolia West as a secure and safe campus for our students. The District is working closely with law enforcement as the investigation is still underway. The District wants to make sure our students, parents and staff feel safe on campus so at the request of Magnolia ISD, the constable’s office will have an increased presence in and around campus tomorrow. The safety of our students and staff will always remain Magnolia ISD’s number one priority. The campus will operate on a regular schedule on Friday."

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2