Jury selection is underway in the trial of a Collin County man who allegedly pretended to be a gunman at his own child’s school.
Police said 44-year-old Ron Miller, of Celina, went inside Celina Elementary School on Jan. 9, 2013, and, according to police, told school workers that he had a gun and was a shooter with a target inside.
When school workers noticed that he did not have a weapon, they ordered him off the school property and called police.
On Monday, Tessa Cantrell, a former Celina Elementary teacher, took the witness stand.
Cantrell testified that she was assigned to carpool lane duty, standing in front of the school the day Miller was arrested.
She said Miller approached her, dressed all in black, wearing a sweatshirt with a hood and a black hat, saying, “I am here to test your school. I am a gunman. I am going to shoot you. What are you going to do?”
Cantrell said during that exchange Miller was “in [her] personal space”.
She said she saw him pat his sweatshirt pocket – taking that to indicate that he had a gun.
When school workers noticed that he did not have a weapon they ordered him off the school property and called police.
Miller was initially charged with terroristic threat, which is a third-degree felony. However, Miller’s attorney George Milner III told NBC5 on Monday that the facts of the case have been distorted.
“What this guy was doing was ensuring the safety of his child as well as the other children of every parent up there,” Milner said. “He didn't violate any laws."
After going to a grand jury, the charge was dropped to making a terroristic threat against a public servant, which is a misdemeanor.
Miller told police he just wanted to conduct his own drill to test Celina Elementary School’s response to an active shooter situation.
"You've got to look at this from the standpoint of a parent," Milner said. "You're standing there saying I want to know my child is safe.”
Celina ISD did make changes to its security protocol following the incident.
The judge told the jurors Monday that he expects the trial to last for two days.