| Crime |

Monica Avila, mom, accused of bringing gun to Denver middle school, threatening students

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Just days after a gunman broke into an elementary school in Connecticut and killed twenty children and six adults, Monica Avila, a 34-year-old Denver mother, is facing charges for allegedly bringing a gun to a middle school and threatening students who may have bullied her daughter.

She was arrested after reportedly pulling out a handgun and saying, "Look what I have."

News of this incident comes amidst an intense gun-control debate across the nation and in Colorado, where Governor John Hickenlooper has said the time has come to consider policy changes during the upcoming legislative session cycle. And times have definitely changed: Five months ago, in the aftermath of the Aurora theater shootings, the governor was silent on the matter of guns.

Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, there have also been a lot of questions about school security and what can be done to prevent these kinds of mass shootings on school properties.

But it was last Thursday when Avila showed up at Lake Middle School -- armed.

District Attorney Mitch Morrissey announced yesterday afternoon that Avila has been formally charged with four counts of menacing and one count of possession of a weapon on school grounds, both felony charges.

The official statement of probable cause, on full view below, says that on Thursday, December 12, at around 4:30 p.m., Avila drove to the school on Lowell Boulevard to contact a juvenile female about bullying her daughter. She entered a school parking lot in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the report says, and confronted four students, ages thirteen and fourteen. The report says:

Ms. Avila began arguing with the juveniles over the bullying. Ms Avila then pulled out a black semi-automatic handgun, while sitting in the driver seat of the Jeep, and stated, "Look what I have." Fearing for their lives, [the students] backed away from Ms. Avila. Ms Avila then exited the parking lot and parked the Jeep across the street facing east. The juveniles alerted adults in the area and [redacted] called 911 on her cell phone.

When police arrived, Avila was reportedly sitting in the front driver seat and two others were in the car as well. Avila was placed in custody and the semiautomatic handgun was recovered.

She remains in custody and her bond is set at $50,000, according to the DA's office. She is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow.

Here's her mugshot.

Continue for the full statement of probable cause.

The statement of probable cause. Statement of Probable Cause

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Four dead in Weld County after possible murder-suicide, frantic 911 call"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.

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