A group of parents expressed their thanks to a pair of Rowlett police officers who caught a teenager with a rifle, ammunition and a mask near the high school. Police say the teen told them that he was infatuated with Columbine.
Rowlett officers Evan Clark and Timothy Paxton checked out a suspicious vehicle near Rowlett High School last Tuesday. They ended up arresting a teen with a rifle, a Halloween mask and around 100 rounds of ammunition.
The arrest happened while a soccer game and basketball game were wrapping up at Rowlett High School. Some parents and students who were in the school at the time met the officers for the first time to say thank you.
When Rebecca Wathen and a group of parents and kids from Rockwall-Heath High School showed up at the Rowlett Police Department, they went not to complain but the opposite of that.
Last Tuesday while Paxton and Clark were on duty, Clark noticed a green Ford van in a community center parking lot in the fog that's next to Rowlett high school. Paxton came as backup.
Inside the van, they found 17-year-old Diego Horta with a rifle, 100 rounds of ammunition, a Halloween mask and drugs. Unprompted, the officers say he made unusual remarks.
“I'm not like planning anything,” Horta can be heard saying on a body cam video. “I'm not like a school shooter.”
The officers arrested Horta for the gun and drugs. And while he has not been charged with planning an attack, there were soccer and basketball games going on at the school that night.
The arrest made Wathen, and others whose kids were there, incredibly grateful for the officers’ actions.
“Again, we don't know what could have happened,” she told the officers. “But all I know is my son got on the bus to go to the event, and he got back on it to leave the event. And I want to say thank you so much because he's my only son so I sure appreciate everything you do.”
On Monday, a FOX 4 crew spotted the green Ford van officers found Horta in outside a Garland home. On Friday, someone at the house denied knowing Horta. On Monday, they told the crews to not return to the home.
New court records reveal that in addition to psychedelic drugs, officers found a pipe with marijuana residue and a digital scale.
There's still very little explanation as to what business Horta had at the community center, but a grateful group of parents are just happy some officers stopped to check.
“People criticize you or critique you or they have a lot of negative things to say, but we just appreciate not only last Tuesday night but every single day you go out there,” Wathen told the officers.
“If any officer in this department would have got there first, they would have done the exact same thing,” Officer Clark said.
The Rowlett police chief said last week the FBI was involved in the case, but there aren't any current federal charges listed for Horta. His attorney has not responded to a request for comment.