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Posted: 02/20/13

Armada student teen
facing terrorist charge

Observer Staff Writer
      An Armada student is facing serious jail time for posting what he considered an impulsive "joke."
       Alex Rosario, 18, of Riley, was arrested on Jan. 25 for making threatening statements on his Twitter account that hinted at shooting people at his former workplace.
       Following a bond hearing on Feb. 5, Rosario was scheduled for an arraignment on Feb. 19 at the Macomb County Circuit Court. The results of the arraignment were not available as of Observer print deadline.
       Rosario, an Armada High School student, is being charged with false report or threat of terrorism after posting comments on his Twitter account that expressed a desire to shoot management, employees and customers at the Subway restaurant in Armada.
       The Armada Police Department made the arrest, stating that Rosario told officers "can't you take a joke" during the arrest. Armada Police Chief Howard Smith said in today's environment, threats of mass shootings are not taken lightly.
       "If something did occur and we didn't do anything, we would certainly be remiss, but more importantly, innocent lives would've been hurt because the threats weren't appropriately dealt with," he said.
       According to a Michigan State Police report, Rosario had "no possible means to carry out this threat at the present time," but admitted to being angry.
       Michigan law states a person is guilty of making a terrorist threat if they threaten to commit an act of terrorism and communicates the threat to anyone else. The law further states a defendant cannot avoid prosecution even if the defendant didn't have the intent or capability to commit the act of terrorism.
       The charge carries up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of no more than $20,000.
       Judge Denis LeDuc of the 42-1 District Court refused to modify Rosario's $500,000 bond during the Feb. 5 court date.
       The defense waived a preliminary hearing and is seeking to modify the bond with conditions like house arrest and seeking counseling after being released from jail.
       Cy Abdo, Rosario's attorney, said the messages in question were posted in early January, but Rosario wasn't arrested until Jan. 25. He said in that time, Rosario didn't act upon his alleged threats.
       "Our firm understands that the court and police and prosecutor has a duty to protect the public, and is being cautious in the handling of this case," he said. "We respect the fact that they're doing that, but we feel in this particular case, Alex's bond is excessive."
       Calls to the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office were not returned as of print deadline.

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