by ANDY SEVILLA
A man who authorities say threatened to shoot up Doris Miller Middle School was released from jail Tuesday after posting $87,000 in bonds, according to Hays County jail records.
Police arrested Joseph Thaddeus Nieschwietz, 22, on Oct. 16 after the suspect led police on a brief pursuit after being approached by authorities at Miller Middle School’s parking lot.
Nieschwietz is accused of assaulting an ex-girlfriend on Oct. 16, according to his probable cause affidavit. The suspect allegedly also made threats of violence to his ex-girlfriend and said he would “shoot up middle schools and people,” according to Trey Hatt, San Marcos spokesperson.
A school resource officer noticed Nieschwietz in the parking lot of Miller Middle School and the campus was placed on lockdown.
Students were released at their normal time after the suspect was arrested. District officials said parents were notified of the lock down via email and telephone.
On Oct. 20, San Marcos school district officials implemented a policy placing district employees at the entrances of all school campuses and buildings to greet guests and unlock entrance doors.
“There is no higher goal than to keep our children and our educators safe,” the district said in an Oct. 20 statement.
Two days later, upon consultation with the San Marcos Police Department, district officials lifted the policy and resumed normal entrance protocol, where visitors to a school campus show standard identification and receive a visitor’s pass.
San Marcos Superintendent Mark E. Eads said the temporary lock-door policy was implemented in response to what was believed to be an imminent threat related to Miller Middle School’s Oct. 16 lock down.
Eads said police continue to monitor all campuses closely, and district staff reviewed enhanced situational awareness techniques.
“We are staying in daily contact with our local law enforcement officers, who have done a commendable job,” Eads said in a statement. “The will notify us of any increased threat. We can reinstate the front door greeters quickly, on an as-needed basis.”
No other threats to school safety have been reported since the Oct. 16 incident, Hatt said Tuesday afternoon.
Following Nieschwietz Oct. 16 arrest, he was released from the Hays County Jail on Oct. 19 after posting a combined $34,000 bond charges of assault, cruelty to animals, criminal trespass and accident involving damage.
Nieschwietz’s ex-girlfriend told police the suspect assaulted her and her dog, according to his probable cause affidavit.
Later in the day, on Oct. 16, police were called out to the ex-girlfriend’s home again related to a physical disturbance involving Nieschwietz, the affidavit said.
The victim told police Nieschwietz showed up to her residence unannounced; she pretended everything was ok between them to keep him calm. The victim said Nieschwietz became upset when he saw the victim’s sister at the home, the affidavit said.
The victim told police she had an exam to go to and Joseph offered to take her to school. Once in the car, the victim told police Nieschwietz became upset and accused her of telling her sister what he did to the dog. The victim told police he backed out of the parking lot aggressively and she was in fear for her safety and didn’t think Nieschwietz was going to take her to school.
The victim said she opened the car door while the vehicle was still in motion and attempted to jump out, but Nieschwietz grabbed her backpack, which she was still wearing, and pulled hard, the affidavit said.
The victim told police she struggled to get the backpack off, but was able to get out of the car and run back to her residence. Nieschwietz followed her home, but she told him she was calling police and he left, striking three vehicles on his way out, the affidavit said.
A short time later, Nieschwietz’s vehicle was spotted in the Miller Middle School parking lot and as police approached him, he drove away at low speeds until he finally stopped and was apprehended, the affidavit said.
A day after his jail release, Nieschwietz was arrested for a traffic infraction, according to Hatt and jail records. Nieschwietz also was charged with evading arrest for leading police on a brief, low-speed pursuit from the middle school on Oct. 16.
Nieschwietz was being held under a combined $87,000 bond at the Hays County jail since his Oct. 20 arrest. He posted $75,000 in surety bonds as well as $18,000 in personal recognizance bonds on Tuesday, jail records state, and was released.
ANDY SEVILLA reports for the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.