Cochise County Sheriff’s Office arrests man after online threat to schools

Kurtis Lemaster

SIERRA VISTA — On Tuesday, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office was advised of a social media threat that was attributed to a man in the Sierra Vista area.

Sheriff’s deputies were able to track the information back to 27-year-old Kurtis Lemaster, who was residing at North Fifth Street in Sierra Vista, according to Carol Capas, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office. The information indicated that Lemaster threatened a “school shooting” in the area sometime before 2019.

The information was received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Arizona Fusion Center, also known as Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC), that there was threatening information on social media posts reportedly owned by Lemaster.

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) was notified of the threats and deputies, along with detectives, located the residence and conducted surveillance while a search warrant was obtained.

It was learned that Lemaster was a recent resident of Michigan and had made threats to two people in the Pontiac and Detroit areas, as well as to their families. Lemaster used an alias on his social media account, but CCSO technical forensic investigations personnel were able to identify him within an hour of the report to the sheriff’s office.

Contact was made with Lemaster, who was subsequently arrested and booked into the Cochise County jail, where he remains in custody on charges of making terroristic threats (a class 3 felony) and two counts of threatening and intimidating threats (a class 1 misdemeanor) where he is being held without bond, pending further adjudication, Capas said.

“It is a very difficult time in our nation today with the real threats we deal with every day, and when someone hides behind a social media platform to threaten the safety of our children, we take that very seriously,” Sheriff Mark Dannels said. “We want to ensure that our citizens know how committed we are to keeping them safe, and we will take any action possible to be successful in our mission.”

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