WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)– Outside Waterbury Superior Court on Friday, a mother held back tears and apologized for the scare police said her son caused at his school — Waterbury Arts Magnet School (WAMS).
“You know my baby is not a bad person,” said Jessica Bowles. “He never did anything wrong to anybody. He means no harm to anyone, and I’m apologizing on his behalf.”
Police said officers received several complaints on Thursday about Instagram posts that were interpreted as threats toward students.
Investigators were able to locate the person who posted the messages and identify him at Shy’rese Eastwood, a Waterbury resident and WAMS student.
According to police, Eastwood and Bowles cooperated with the investigation and officers determined that he had no immediate access to weapons.
Eastwood was then arrested and charged with breach of peace and threatening. He was held on a $25,000 bond.
News8 spoke with a student at WAMS who saw one of the posts and grew concerned.
“He was threatening how he was going to shoot up the school and he had posted a list of some of his friends that supposedly were going to be safe,” said Katana Gomez. “It’s very scary.”
Gomez said many of her friends stayed home on Friday.
“A lot of people were scared,” she said.
Gomez describes Eastwood as a quiet kid who kept to himself somewhat.
His mother said he’s a good kid who goes to school every day. However, she believes the post was a cry for help because of a difficult family situation.
Eastwood is in the custody of his father. According to Bowles, the ex-wife of Eastwood’s father has helped raise him.
Bowles said she and Eastwood’s maternal grandmother were not allowed to spend time with him and they would often have to sneak around for any kind of interaction.
That’s why, according to Bowles, Eastwood acted out.
“Yes, he’s trying to cry out for help from his mother,” Bowles said. “He was trying to get attention; trying to reach out to his mom. “Like I said, he had no other way to reach out to me, and the only way he could reach out to me was getting attention. I don’t know why he chose this but that’s what he did.”
Bowles believes in her heart that her son was never going to carry through with any kind of violent attack on his school.
However, when she first found out about the threat made on Instagram she said she was shocked.
“Went into shock,” Bowles said. “I had a panic attack because this is not my baby.”
Extra police officers kept watch over the students and school on Friday. There were no incidents.
As for Eastwood, he was charged with of breach of peace in the second degree and threatening in the first degree.
His bond was set at $25,000.
At his arraignment Friday, the judge continued the case to September 30 with a promise to appear. It was also ordered that Eastwood get mental health counseling. He will be under house arrest until then.