.Santa Cruz Mayor To Meet With Teenager Who Made Death Threats

Teenager and father will sit down with the Mayor and will hand-deliver a letter of apology.

Santa Cruz City Mayor Fred Keeley will meet with the family of the 16-year-old teenager who left death threats on Keeley’s voicemail on Jan. 10.

The threats were made after the city council rejected to pass resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict. The minor and his family will be delivering a formal letter of apology to the mayor during a private meeting, according to Keeley. 

“What we agreed to is that […] they’re going to hand-deliver me the letter and we’re going to sit down, the three of us, without anybody else around here,” Keeley said.

The teenager was detained in Watsonville on the evening of Jan. 16 by Santa Cruz police with the assistance of Watsonville police. The teenager was traveling in a vehicle with his parents en route to the Watsonville City Council meeting. The council was expected to debate the drafting of its own ceasefire resolution that evening.

Authorities were able to track the phone number from which the threatening calls originated and located the caller.

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“[The perpetrator is] a minor male juvenile that resides in Watsonville, but when we identified him and determined how old he was, we detained him and released him back to his family,” said Santa Cruz Police Deputy Chief Jon Bush. “Due to his age, we didn’t arrest him.

Bush said that threats to do bodily harm or cause death are considered a felony under the law.

Keeley said that if he received a letter of apology it would be the end of the issue for him. But he said it was up to the district attorney’s office whether or not to file charges.

On Jan. 17, Keeley received the apologetic call from the same phone number from which the death threats were made. They both expressed ‘deep sorrow’ and apologized for the threats.

The father and son requested a sit-down with Keeley to open a dialogue on how to move forward.

“They obviously felt very strongly about their position and  neither they nor I are trying to get each other to change our positions. It’s [about] getting to know each other better,” Keeley said.

“I think a calm environment here, just the three of us talking it through, I think will be a helpful thing. So that what isn’t the end of the story Is the death threat. The end of the story is we’re trying to make peace with each other,” Keeley said.

The minor’s family could not be reached for comment at this time.


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