Remark over neighbor's gun led to arrest for school threat

·2 min read

Jun. 1—A 70-year-old Barrington man who was arrested Tuesday for an alleged threat against an elementary school told police he was upset that his neighbor has an assault-style rifle, and was making a "statement" when he suggested that they "go shoot up" the school.

Jonathan Tsoronis, of Old Concord Turnpike, entered a plea of not guilty in Strafford County Superior Court on Wednesday to a felony charge of criminal threatening.

Tsoronis was arrested Tuesday afternoon after his neighbor, identified in court documents as Jeffrey Duchesne, called police to report that Tsoronis had "stopped by and asked me for my A.R. rifle," according to a police affidavit filed in court.

When Duchesne asked why, Tsoronis told his neighbor "grab your AR and we can go down to the school and shoot it up," court documents said.

"When Duchesne asked him again what he was talking about, Tsoronis allegedly responded 'grab your gun and let's go shoot up the elementary school.'"

The neighbor's report led to campus lockdowns and a police presence at Barrington Elementary School as well as the town's middle school and early childhood learning center.

Police officers went to Tsoronis' house, where they encountered him and his wife as the couple arrived home. Barrington Chief George Joy arrived shortly thereafter.

According to the affidavit signed by Chief Joy, "Tsoronis expressed his displeasure that his neighbor, Duchesne, had an assault style rifle. He confirmed that he made the statements in question but did so in order to make a statement to his neighbor."

The Barrington incident comes in the aftermath of a May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Since his arrest, Tsoronis has been held at Strafford County House of Correction. A judge has not yet issued a bail order in the case.

The court ordered Tsoronis to surrender any personal firearms to Barrington police, and to have no contact with the elementary and middle schools in his town. He is also barred from traveling out of state.

The charge against him, RSA 631:4, I(3), involves a threat to commit a crime of violence "with a purpose to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, facility of public transportation or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of causing such fear, terror or inconvenience."