Police: Racial threat aimed at ‘whites’
Vail, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” A racially charged threat scrawled on a portable bathroom wall at the Aspen Middle School construction site this week was directed at Anglos ” not Latinos ” authorities said Friday.
And, authorities emphasized, there have been no threats of bombings or other violence directed against local schools or the Latino community as a whole, although there is evidence of rumors sweeping through Latino neighborhoods in response to the closing of the school Friday.
Sheriff Bob Braudis, paraphrasing in order to not give away investigative secrets, said the message read “something like, ‘at 8:46 a.m. I’m going to start shooting whites.'”
Braudis also said the message was not put there Friday and it was not the only message under investigation.
Aspen public schools were shut down Friday after the message was discovered in one of several portable bathrooms scattered around the construction site Thursday afternoon.
The campus was reopened at 3 p.m. Friday. Superintendent Diana Sirko said it was likely that students will have to make up the lost day in order to meet state requirements, although she was not sure how much time will be required.
Sheriff’s investigator Jeff Lumsden said that although the threat was discovered and reported Thursday, interviews with workers at the site have shown that the message was there for some time, perhaps days.
The portable bathroom, which contains other messages, is now in the hands of investigators.
Lumsden and Braudis both declined to say specifically what the subsequent messages were, other than to explain they contained such expressions as “yo’ momma” and having “the balls” to shoot someone.
Lumsden said it is not certain at this point whether the initial threat was written by a Latino or an Anglo, because of the use of the word “whites.” Deputy Marie Munday, who acts as the department’s liaison with the Hispanic community, said she had never heard a Latino refer to Anglos as “whites” in her experience.
Braudis said there is no evidence that the campus threat was linked to a similar threat against Latinos found in Snowmass Village earlier this spring. He also said interviews with workers at the Base Village construction site has revealed the presence of members of such noted white-supremacy groups as The Aryan Brotherhood and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
He said the Weitz Construction management has imported “highly skilled workers” from all over the U.S., and that many of these workers are union members from parts of the country where such organizations have sizable memberships.
One difference between the two incidents, Braudis said, is that Weitz Construction gave its Latino workers a paid day off on the date mentioned in the Snowmass Village message, May 4, where GE Johnson simply shut down its middle school project for the day on May 11.
Braudis said he is hoping that workers at the school site, angered at losing a day’s pay, might come forward with evidence that authorities can use to catch the perpetrator or perpetrators.
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