*Update April 5, 2:53pm, another arrest made by Boone Police*
An additional Watauga High School student has been arrested today on a charge related to gang activity.
Noe Hernandez Lopez, age 19, was charged with one felony count of soliciting gang activity in violation of the North Carolina Gang Suppression Act. Lopez is also alleged to have recruited students to participate in a gang related fight. He was taken into custody with the assistance of Blowing Rock Police Officers while on a school field trip and transported to the Watauga County Magistrate’s Office. Lopez was then taken to the Watauga County Detention Center where he was held under a $10,000 secured bond with a May 17, 2012 court date.
*Update April 5, 12:27am, update from Boone Police about arrest made*
A Watauga High School student was charged Wednesday, suspected of participating in a criminal gang and another student was charged in an unrelated incident by officers that were on campus responding to the gang threat.
Enrique Rivera Alvarez, age 17, was charged with one felony count of soliciting gang activity. Alvarez is suspected of recruiting students to participate in a gang related fight. He was taken before a Watauga County Magistrate then booked into the Watauga County Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond with a May 17, 2012 court date.
As officers were on campus for increased security in response to that possible fight, Humberto Ascencio-Estrada was detained by police and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct after he got into an altercation with another student.
The Boone Police Department is committed to fighting criminal gang activity. The investigation into this incident continues and additional charges may be forthcoming.
*Updated April 4, 11:58am, an update from Boone Police*
Late in the day on April 3, 2012, the School Resource Officer at Watauga High School was notified of threats being made towards a group of Watauga High School students by a non-student or non-students via text messaging. The unidentified person/persons threatened to harm the students today. The students were worried that the unknown person/persons would come to the school. Gang activity and weapons were mentioned in at least one of the text messages. These threats prompted the Watauga High School administration to initiate a notification of parents. The Boone Police Department also released a short statement concerning increased officer presence at the campus on Wednesday, April 4, 2012.
Additional officers were present this morning during the commencement of classes and increased officer presence will continue on a random schedule. The Boone Police Department is conducting an investigation into this incident. The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office assisted with this incident. Boone Police Department, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and Watauga County School System will respond promptly to all reports of gang activity or violence in our community and on our school campuses.
*Updated April 4 9:15am, an update as posted on the Watauga High School website*
“Statement Regarding Increased Security Measures at WHS, April 4, 2012
A few of our high school students received threats through a text message from an unknown source. Watauga High School was not mentioned in the threat, but since those threatened are students at the high school, Boone Police will provide an increased presence at the school to ensure there is no danger to any student or staff member. The increased police presence will be maintained through the remainder of this week.
These actions are purely precautionary. We emphasize that the school itself was not mentioned in the threats. We feel strongly that today will be one of the safest days of the year at Watauga High School.”
The Boone Police Department will have an increased police presence around Watauga High School on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. This action is in response to rumored threats of violence at Watauga High School. The Boone Police Department, in conjunction with Watauga High School Administrators, have decided to take a proactive stance to ensure the safety of our children. Faculty, staff and students are urged to attend school as usual but remain vigilant for anything out of the ordinary. If suspicious activity is observed, please contact the Boone Police Department at 828-268-6900 or 911.
Anyone with information concerning this incident is urged to contact the Boone Police Department at 828.268.6900.