Dangerous smoke bomb incident: Why no arrests or prosecution?
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Marcelino Benito
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -It's been more than two months since a smoke bomb rocked a TUSD board meeting and no one has been prosecuted. And get this: no one ever will. Now, new police reports shed light on why.
The smoke is long gone, but a cloud of uncertainty remains.
"It's surprising to me when something this blatant happens and there's security people 15 feet away witnessing it that there was no positive ID," TUSD Board Member Mark Stegeman said.
TPD reports confirm there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute. So crimes committed back on April 10 against two TUSD officers will go unpunished.
9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked TUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pedicone if the district did enough to ID and prosecute a suspect. He replied, "Yes, there's no question. There's no question about it."
But 9OYS did have questions. Reports show TUSD officer Jeff Colman did give Tucson Police a suspect name. Colman adds that Dr. Pedicone would not say whether they "would prosecute or not," simply saying to "cooperate" with TPD. When 9OYS interviewed Pedicone Thursday afternoon, he said this.
"When it comes to a decision to prosecute or take action to keep people safe, I will do anything in my power to make sure that happens," Pedicone said.
Police say eyewitness accounts of the smoke bomb incident simply didn't match up. Video evidence wasn't concrete. Benito asked Stegeman if he buys that explanation. He replied, "I don't think I'm in a position to contradict that. But I think if you look at what happened and the conclusion it's not a satisfactory outcome."
Before TPD wrapped up it's investigation, school board members were split on whether to prosecute in the first place. Three board members, Alexandre Sugiyama, Michael Hicks, and Stegeman wanted to prosecute. One board member, Adelita Grijalva did not want to prosecute. Miguel Cuevas did not respond to TPD's question.
In the end, Dr. Pedicone stands by the district's actions after the incident.
"The fact that that didn't happen [suspect ID] had nothing to do with whether we cooperated or if TPD did their job," he said. "Everybody did what they were supposed to do."
In these reports 9OYS also learned someone tried grabbing a TUSD officer's gun. Dr. Pedicone tells KGUN 9 this incident could have been far worse. The Superintendent says the district is constantly looking at ways to improve security. They may install new cameras at the front of the boardroom. The hope is that will help them better ID and prosecute people who choose to act out at meetings.