MIDDLEPORT — A 22-year-old man is facing a felony charge after several Facebook posts were examined by Middleport Police Department and the Niagara County District Attorney's Office.
Michael A. Altman, 22, of Barker, was charged on June 18 with making a terroristic threat.
According to MPD, Altman posted three posts on Facebook in which he talked about school shootings. Police were alerted to the posts by John Fisgus, Royalton-Hartland Middle School principal.
Police Chief John Swick said Altman believed his sister, a student in the Roy-Hart district, was being bullied and wrote on Facebook that the bullying needs to stop.
"Basically, the comments made online (were) the school needs to address the bullying and that’s why there is school shootings," Swick said.
Police checked Altman's residence and determined that there were no weapons in the home, the arrest report noted.
It was the DA's Office that recommended Altman be charged with making a terroristic threat.
District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek declined to disclose the exact contents of the Facebook posts in question. She said the posts indicated Altman "was out to scare the kids and did not care if he got locked up for it."
"You only get locked up for something serious, so that added additional concern," she said.
Of MPD's observation that Altman did not have any weapons in his home, Wojtaszek said it does not matter whether the accused person had the capability of carrying out a threat. It is no defense that he did not have the capability to carry out the threat, she added.
Wojtaszek noted that her office is asking for a mental health service to get involved in the case. She said it's possible the charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor if Altman completes a mental health evaluation and, if warranted, treatment.
Altman is due in Royalton town court on Thursday.