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September 29, 2009
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Teen arrested for alleged threat at Palisade school

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A judge ordered an 18-year-old Grand Junction man held on $100,000 bond Tuesday for his role in an alleged threat at Palisade High School that apparently involved weapons or explosives.

Mesa County Judge Bruce Raaum issued the ordered during a Tuesday afternoon hearing for Robert Dell Johnson.

Johnson, a student at the high school, was arrested Monday evening in connection with the threat, authorities said. He is being held at Mesa County jail.

Johnson is scheduled in court Oct. 8.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said that Johnson has not been "formally charged" in the case although he suggested Tuesday there are potential felony charges he is considering.

"We are not (required) to do so until next Thursday," said Hautzinger, who was referring to an Oct. 8 filing date.

He declined to further comment on the case citing an ongoing investigation, and a sealed affidavit.

Sheriff Stan Hilkey characterized the threat as "credible" and said it involved the use of "weapons or explosives." He made his remarks at a Tuesday afternoon press conference at the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.

Hilkey said the teenager was arrested for criminal solicitation and interference with an educational institution. He said information about the alleged threat was discovered Monday and acted upon "very quickly" in order to disrupt any potential plans.

Hilkey declined to discuss whether other individuals might have been involved. He, too, cited an ongoing investigation and a sealed affidavit.

"Draw your own conclusions," he said.

Steven Schultz, superintendent of schools for Mesa County Valley School District 51, said the response to the threat by law enforcement district personnel was "appropriate" given the circumstances.

"Safety is very important in our schools," he said.

Reach Wyatt Haupt Jr. at whaupt@gjfreepress.com.

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The Post Independent Updated Sep 29, 2009 10:37PM Published Sep 29, 2009 03:06PM Copyright 2009 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.