December 1, 2021

Teen testifies on threats

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Prosecuting attorney Patrick Perfetti, left, and defendent Jensen Schack approach the bench Tuesday during Schack's trial at the Cortland County Courthouse.

A 15-year-old Cortland High School student who notified police testified Tuesday she took seriously several social media posts made by a man accused of making terroristic threats against Cortland High School. He claimed it was a joke.

“This had taken place after the Parkland (Florida) shooting and everyone was saying if you see something, speak out,” Clarissa Santiago said.

The threats were made by Jensen P. Schack, 19, of Plymouth on Snapchat, according to police reports. Schack was subsequently charged with two counts of making terrorist threats, felonies.

Santiago contacted police March 2 a couple hours after she said she saw Snapchat posts from Schack of his father, Allen Schack, shooting an AR-style rifle, with the caption, “Cortland highschool (sic) watch out.”

“It was from his account,” Santiago said.

Schack was a former student at Cortland High School, where Santiago was an acquaintance.

The incident occurred just days after a former student walked into a high school in Parkland and killed 17 people, including 14 students.

Santiago said she also saw two more posts Schack made.

In a second post, Schack wrote, “You want to come take my guns? You better bring yours.” In a final post Santiago said that the post stated, “that snap was a joke please don’t send the cops to my house.”

Santiago stated in a police report that she believed Schack was capable of shooting up the school.

“Why do you believe that?” Lt. Todd Caufield asked.

“Because he has a gun and I know that he has a background of mental illness,” Santiago replied.

Caufield also testified about executing a search warrant at Schack’s father’s house in Plymouth and taking a statement from Jensen Schack. Caufield didn’t characterize the statement, but it has already been released and Schack implicated himself and claimed it was a joke.

Schack, in his statement to police, told them he had fired the weapon once.

Cortland County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Starner said he collected a variety of evidence at the scene, including the rifle, ammunition, a speed loader, cell phone and a drawing.

A photo of the drawing — showing a stick figure shooting at other stick figures — was also presented as evidence.

Schack has remained in Cortland County Jail since March on $100,000 bail or bond. If Schack is convicted, he could face up to 1 1/3 to four years in prison for each count.

Testimony continued today.