AUSTIN, Texas - Students at Akins High School walked out of class Monday afternoon protesting gun violence and demanding to be protected.
The protest comes after a former student, Alex Ramirez Navarro, was arrested last week for allegedly making a terroristic threat against the school. A document requiring new bond conditions for the 17-year-old was released Monday by Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore. The order, Moore believes corrects a misstep but she admits the paperwork is no iron shield.
"We've imposed every single condition that we can think of that will also ensure the safety of the community and the school,” said District Attorney Moore.
The new order, requires Ramirez Navarro to Undergo a mental health evaluation. Stay at least 500-feet away from Akins high school. Wear a GPS monitoring device. And not have any weapon on him - or at his home.
Moore said she was “appalled” that specific conditions were not ordered on Friday by City of Austin Magistrate Judge Celeste Villarreal. That decision was made by Judge Villarreal despite a detailed Probable Cause Affidavit written by AISD Police. It contains specific information about how Ramirez Navarro allegedly said he was going to shoot up and blow up Akins High.
The PC have been enough, in Moore’s opinion.
“It was for us,” said Moore.
Judge Villarreal sent out the following statement on Tuesday regarding the bond setting:
I set the bond based on the information provided by the arresting officer and the probable cause affidavit he submitted. The bond amount I set was fairly high for a first offender with no criminal history and no juvenile or adult arrests of any kind. There was also no indication or evidence of any mental health issues.
The bond was set with all the available information at that time.
Ariel was released after securing a surety bond from a bail bondsman. Neither I, or any other judge, signed a bond authorizing his release. Every person arrested is entitled to a bail amount to be set, and can access a bail bondsman to get released from custody while their case is pending.
Several days after Ariel's release I was contacted by Mindy Montford from the District Attorney's office regarding the bond. After receiving new, additional information from her, I agree that adding bond conditions is appropriate.
Having served on the board of CARY (Council on At-Risk Youth) for several years, I am very aware of the serious issues regarding at-risk youth. I understand that this is a serious and scary issue, especially on the heels of the Florida incident. This young man, Ariel Ramirez-Navarro, needs services and intervention of the kind that CARY provides.
As a Judge with eight years experience, I am dedicated to administering justice with fairness and compassion, and following the rule of law. I deliberate carefully and have solid reasoning for every decision.
Judge Villarreal was out of town Monday and not available for an on-camera interview. Also Monday morning a city Judicial Review committee released the names of people recommended for appointment and reappointment to judgeships. Villarreal's name was not on that list. City officials say the decision to not recommend Judge Villarreal's reappointment has nothing to do with the Akins High case. Her name can still be added when the city council takes up the issue next month.
Jon Evans the Court Appointed attorney for Ramirez Navarro also declined an on camera interview. He wouldn't say where his client is currently located, but in a statement sent to FOX 7, Evans did say;
"All parties are working together to ensure the safety of the community as well as the safety of my client."
The incident Thursday at Akins was one of a half dozen threats of gun violence last week at local schools. District Attorney Moore says she is taking a zero tolerance policy regarding those who make such threats.
"It’s more serious than people understand,” said Moore.
Alex Ramirez Navarro is scheduled to make a court appearance on Thursday. There is the possibility he will not be there and only his attorney will have to attend.
AISD reports almost 400 students did not come to school Monday at Akins H.S. Friday, more than 1,200 were absent.