A Houston high school student is being held in jail on a $1 million bond and was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation after allegedly bringing a 3D-printed gun to campus and threatening to kill himself.
Alexander Teran, an 18-year-old student at Chavez High School in Southeast Houston, was arrested at the Houston ISD campus Tuesday and charged with possession of a prohibited weapon in a prohibited place, a third-degree felony, according to Harris County court records. Magistrate Judge Andrew Martin initially set Teran's bond at $35,000 – the amount requested by prosecutors – but that bail amount was raised to $1 million on Thursday by Judge Danilo Lacayo.
"I must follow the law, and I think $1 million is sufficient in this case to ensure the community's safety," Lacayo said during a Thursday court hearing.
Teran's defense attorney, Joshua Willoughby, argued for a lower bond amount while claiming the weapon in question was not loaded or functional. Prosecutors for the Harris County District Attorney's Office alleged in a court filing that Teran "brought a 3D-printed firearm to school and threatened to kill himself in school, displaying the firearm to teachers."
"He couldn't have harmed anybody," Willoughby told Lacayo during Thursday's hearing. "There wasn't a bullet in there."
Teran told school staffers Tuesday that "all teachers should carry guns" in order to protect themselves, a prosecutor alleged during Thursday's hearing while claiming that the student's comments seemed strange. Other Chavez students were ushered out of the classroom during the incident, the prosecutor told the judge.
Houston ISD responded to a request for comment about the matter by providing a copy of an email sent to Chavez parents last week by principal Marlen Martinez.
“A student went to an office asking for assistance,” Martinez wrote. “We discovered that the student had a prohibited weapon in his possession. Our officers responded and the weapon was confiscated, and no one was injured. Please know that we take these situations very seriously, as the safety of our students and staff is always our absolute top priority. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the school office at 713-495-6950.”
Teran was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation while in jail and, if he posts bond, court-ordered conditions for his release include staying at least 1,000 feet away from Chavez High School and refraining from possessing any weapons or consuming any drugs or alcohol. At the bottom of the latter court document, where Teran was supposed to sign his name as an acknowledgement of the order, the word "Refused" is handwritten.
If you or someone in your life is feeling distressed or experiencing mental health challenges, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Free and confidential emotional support is available 24/7. Call 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741-741.