News & Features

Man Accused of School Threats Released

David Lenio will stay in Michigan until his trial later this year


The Kalispell man who allegedly made threats on social media to open fire inside a local school and assassinate Jewish religious leaders was released from jail last week after attorneys on both sides reached a deal in court.

David Joseph Lenio was released on his own recognizance and will be staying with his family in Michigan until his trial in November. As part of the agreement between Lenio’s attorney and prosecutors, the 29-year-old man will not be able to use social media and will have to undergo a mental health evaluation.

The conditions of Lenio’s release were sorted out during a status conference on July 17. District Court Judge Heidi Ulbricht agreed to release Lenio from jail. He was initially held on $500,000 bail but will not have to pay that so long as he follows the conditions of his release.

Lenio has been charged with intimidation and criminal defamation, both felonies, for threats he made on Twitter over the winter.

In one online post on Feb. 12, Lenio allegedly wrote, “I bet I could get at least 12 unarmed sitting ducks if I decide to go on a killing spree in a school. Sounds better than being a wage slave.” And in another tweet, sent on Feb. 15, he reportedly wrote, “If my tax dollars can go to blowing up Palestine school kids then surely I can tweet about how cool killing school kids is.”

On Feb. 16, an officer with the Kalispell Police Department contacted Lenio to talk to him about his tweets. Lenio admitted that he had sent the messages and that he was “trying to bring attention to certain social issues,” according to court documents. He then told the officer that he was glad his tweets were gaining the attention of law enforcement and school officials.

Later that same day, an officer talked to Lenio’s roommate, who said that Lenio had brought rifles and ammunition to their home the night before, according to authorities. Police obtained a search warrant for Lenio’s apartment and found a 9mm semi-automatic rifle and a Russian made bolt-action rifle in his bedroom. They also found numerous rounds of ammunition in Lenio’s bedroom and basement. Later they conducted a search of Lenio’s vehicle and found a .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol and more ammunition. They also discovered marijuana, a pipe and jugs of urine.

Lenio was arrested Feb. 16 at 4:45 p.m. as he was coming back from snowboarding at Whitefish Mountain Resort. The arrest was made in coordination with the Kalispell Police Department, the FBI, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and the Whitefish Police Department.

Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset said the fact that Lenio had moved guns to his house was what took the threat to the “next level” and led to his arrest.

Lenio’s trial is expected to begin Nov. 2.

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