GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A man accused of threatening to kill everyone at a Gaines Township child care center was arrested within an hour and a half of the day care calling police, according to Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess.
Mario Brazier was charged Tuesday with false report or threat of terrorism, a 20-year-felony, and misdemeanor malicious use of telecommunications.
Deputies were dispatched to Rainbow Child Care Center on 68th Street at 11:49 a.m. Monday after Brazier allegedly threatened over the phone to come to the child care center, kill a staff member and then everyone at the facility. They arrived at the daycare just before noon.
Brazier was arrested at a Grand Rapids home between 12:30 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. and was en route to the jail by 12:57 p.m.
"He admitted to making the phone calls and we made the arrest," Hess said.
Deputies made the arrest, but were assisted by Grand Rapids police.
The case was sent to the prosecutor's office on Tuesday. He determined a threat of terrorism charge was appropriate and issued charging warrant.
Hess said the department notifies schools about potential threats on a case-by-case basis and schools determine when to enact a lockdown. In some cases, the department strongly suggests schools go into a lockdown.
Explorer Elementary, which is next door to the child care center, was not notified of the threat because the sheriff's department had knowledge of suspect in relation to the employee he was making threats against.
"I think the officer knew right away who he was dealing with," Hess explained. "They knew right where he was at and they went over and got him right away. So we recognize if there had been a concern and we needed to notify those areas right away, we certainly would have."
Brazier remained in the Kent County jail Wednesday.
Parents picking their children up from the child care center Tuesday said they found out about the incident from 24 Hour News 8, not Rainbow Child Care management.
Several parents said they are angry that Rainbow Child Care Center didn't notify them about the threat immediately.
One parent, who asked not to be identified, provided this email statement, saying he was going to remove his child from the program:
My wife and I were disappointed and troubled in the way that Rainbow CCC handled the events that transpired this past Monday. We strongly feel the parents and or guardians of the children at the school should have been notified immediately of the situation at hand. There should have been an option for the children to be picked up by their parents if they felt inclined to do so. Having an entire day go by without notification from Rainbow CCC is deplorable. I understand they may not have wanted to cause a stir among the students, staff, and family members at the time. But having to find out that our children's lives were threatened through a third party (WOODTV 8) is unacceptable. One cannot help but think of the Sandy Hook travesty that happened recently when a threat like this occurs. After the piece aired on Tuesday evening, Rainbow CCC sent a document out to the parents who's children attend there. I feel the letter was sent out as damage control and quite frankly I am not sure if we would have been notified at all if you had not reported it. That stated, we decided to remove our children from attending Rainbow CCC immediately and will be looking for another child care provider. The safety and security of my children as well as communication of events such as this have equal importance to me as a parent. There needs to be better measures and protocols in place for times like these when the lives of defenseless children involved.
Officials at the Troy, Mich. home office of Rainbow Child Care told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone Wednesday that they are not commenting about why parents were not notified when the threats came in until further assessment is completed.
A parent gave 24 Hour News 8 a letter the home office sent to parents Wednesday about a meeting scheduled for Thursday to discuss the incident:
May 22, 2013
In light of the recent activity that transpired between Monday and Tuesday, we would like to inform you that we will be hosting an on-site meeting for enrolled parents tomorrow evening, Thursday, May 23rd at 6:00 p.m. We have been in contact with the Kent County Sherriff's Department and intend to share what we know and answer any questions or concerns that you may have. If you will require childcare for this meeting, please inform Ms. Becky so that we may staff after our closing time accordingly.
Given the situation, we understand that tomorrow may seem too far away to answer the question that is probably providing the most anxiety… when is the suspect being released? We wanted to share with you the peace of mind we received this morning when the Kent County Sherriff's Department
informed us that upon arraignment, the suspect's bond was revoked and that he would not be getting out of jail "for a long time." If you are unable to attend tomorrow's meeting or would like to speak with someone beforehand, please feel free to contact me at the information listed below.
We would like to reiterate that the safety of our children continues to be our number one priority. It is because of this that we have not released any information to the media and continue to request that the media remains off-site so that there is no interruption to the children's daily routine and we can remain focused on you, our families.
We look forward to meeting with you tomorrow.
Director of Communications
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