LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Two San Fernando Valley parents faced criminal charges Monday over gun violence threats allegedly made by their teens at two local high schools.
Prosecutors say Robert Christy, 59, was arrested after his 16 year-old son allegedly made threats to other students at Chatsworth Charter High School indicating he was going to shoot up the school. The teen had allegedly made numerous references to his parents’ guns on previous occasions.
Police went to Christy’s home on Feb. 17 after after another parent reported the alleged threats and found two revolvers and a semi-automatic handgun unsecured in a bag behind a dresser in the master bedroom, according to City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Nearly 90 rounds of ammunition were also recovered from the bag along with an unsecured rifle that was reportedly discovered in the closet, according to Feuer.
Christy is charged with three counts of unlawful storage of a firearm and faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each charge.
A second parent, 50-year-old Dazo Esguerra, was taken into custody after his 17-year-old son allegedly made threats involving a gun to another student at Granada Hills Charter High School. Prosecutors say Esguerra’s son allegedly also made social media posts threatening to use a firearm.
During a search of Esguerra’s home, officers found a loaded semi-automatic handgun unsecured in a bag located in his closet, Feuer said. A magazine with seven rounds of ammunition was allegedly recovered from the holster where the firearm was located.
He was charged with two criminal counts including criminal storage of a firearm and unlawful storage of a firearm. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
School officials say parents who own firearms must take a more proactive approach to keeping guns out of their kids’ hands.
“As a School Board Member and former principal, my most pressing responsibility is the safety of our children and the security of our school communities,” said LAUSD Board Member Scott Schmerelson. “Our teachers and principals are trained to respond to threats made on campus but we need parents and families to discuss gun safety with their children and to encourage our students who see or hear something troubling from a classmate to say something. Building this trust will help keep our campuses safe.”
“For goodness sake lock up your guns,” Feuer said at a press conference Monday. “Imagine what would happen if a student who was upset, who was threatening to shoot someone else, got access to your gun.”
“Obviously a juvenile making a threat is concerning enough,” said Joseph Camello, Los Angeles School Police Department. “Then when you continue your investigative steps and we find firearms within a residence that are accessible and not locked up in a fashion or a manner consistent with California law, it’s very concerning.”
Arraignments for both cases are scheduled for April 2.