By Jill Harmacinski and Douglas Moser
---- — LAWRENCE — A Methuen High School student charged with threatening to outdo the Boston Marathon bombings, posting on his Facebook page he would “go insane and make the news,” was held without bail yesterday after his arraignment for communicating a terrorist threat.
Cameron Dambrosio, 18, of 19 Glen Ave., Methuen, was arrested and charged with the felony offense Wednesday afternoon, after his violent Facebook post was brought to the attention of Methuen High Athletic Director James Weymouth, who in turn notified Officer James Mellor, who works at the high school, according to a police report.
After searching the high school for Dambrosio Wednesday afternoon, officers later found him walking on Pleasant Street near Highland Avenue. After he was read his Miranda rights and questioned by police, Dambrosio admitted he put the threatening post on his Facebook page “and that there was no mistake, he looked at it again and stated he wrote and posted it,” according to Mellor’s police report.
“Don’t (expletive) cry or be worried because all YOU people (expletive) caused this (expletive). (Expletive) a boston bombing wait till u see the (expletive) I do, Ima be famous for rapping, and beating every murder charge that comes across me!” wrote Dambrosio, according to a copy of his Facebook post included with Mellor’s report.
The charge carries a penalty of 20 years in jail. And while the threat was not directed at a specific person or target, it was still a general threat of violence and terrorism, officials said.
Held on $1 million bail, Dambrosio spent the night at Middleton Jail. Shackled and handcuffed yesterday, he appeared in Lawrence District Court yesterday wearing gray sweatpants, blue sneakers and a black T-shirt with a picture of late rapper ODB of the rap group Wu-Tang Clan on the front. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
Judge Lynn Rooney then ordered Dambrosio held without bail pending a hearing next week.
Following his arrest, police also searched Dambrosio’s home, seizing an Xbox 360 gaming console, two Xbox 360 hard drives and a Dell MTC 2 computer tower. Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said the media devices will be searched by the State Police, who will be determining what he was reading, what websites he visited and what else he posted on social media.
“We asked social media sites to freeze his accounts, and they will be analyzed by the State Police,” he said.
No weapons or explosives were found in the search. Solomon said police have not found definite or substantive plans to attack people or places, and he does not believe other people are involved.
Police and school officials yesterday afternoon pushed back against rumors one or more of the city’s schools had been locked down Wednesday. Solomon said he believed he traced the source of the rumor to an email a local private school sent out to parents announcing a half-day and a run-through of a new lock down policy.
Weymouth said the first student came to him about the posting at about 12:20 p.m. Wednesday, and within a short time, around 40 students had reported the post to various associate principals and teachers.
Superintendent Judith Scannell said the schools have been urging students and administrators to be vigilant.
“We have ramped up our communication with our students to be constantly on alert,” she said.
In December, a junior, Jacob Butze-Maille, told another student he wanted to replicate the Columbine shootings. He was arrested and charged with threatening to commit murder, intimidation of a witness, and willfully communicating a threat concerning a dangerous item. His case is ongoing.
Solomon said Dambrosio was the victim of an assault last fall after posting comments about another student’s girlfriend on Facebook.
The student assaulted him “pretty badly,” Solomon said. However, he said he did not see anything in Dambrosio’s past that would have led them to believe he would make these kinds of threats.