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Teen arraigned on terrorist-threat charge

Ryan Bernhardt, 17, of Massapequa, pleaded not guilty

Ryan Bernhardt, 17, of Massapequa, pleaded not guilty through his lawyer when he was arraigned on a charge of making a terrorist threat, a felony, in First District Court in Hempstead. (Sept. 5, 2012) Credit: NCPD

A Massapequa High School senior arrested Tuesday for allegedly making "terroristic threats" to a classmate about bombing the school and killing people also said he had a list of those he wished had been in the July movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., court records show.

The student, Ryan Bernhardt of Park Lane in Massapequa, pleaded not guilty through his defense attorney at an arraignment at First District Court in Hempstead Wednesday to a felony charge of making a terroristic threat.

Judge Douglas J. Lerose ordered him held on $30,000 cash bail or bond. Bernhardt, 17, is due back in court Friday.

Among the statements he told the classmate, according to court records:

"I hate everyone and I hope I get a chance to kill everyone."

"I want to blow up the school."

"I want to go to Europe and kill people."

"I have a list of people and wish they were in the Colorado Dark [K]night shooting."

Court papers indicate that he maintained from the start that someone else, not he, had made the threats. His attorney, Richard B. Stafford of Bohemia, said it wasn't clear when or whether the family could post the bail.

"He's claiming his innocence," Stafford said outside court, adding: "He is an honor student. He is a good kid, never been in trouble before."

The teen's father, Bob Bernhardt, said after the school told him the case would be reported to police, he thought, "I didn't know it'd turn into all this."

"In this day and age they have to take it so seriously, but it's my kid," he said.

Police said Bernhardt made the "terroristic" statements in Town Bagel, a store next to the school, at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday.

In a letter to parents, school principal Barbara Williams said the case was referred to the police "as is our standard protocol." The letter did not name Bernhardt but said "this student is not in school" and could be disciplined by administrators too.

Bob Bernhardt said his son was egged on by a fellow student who had approached him at the store, saying how great it was to be back for classes -- and that his son said he hated the place. Bob Bernhardt said the classmate then suggested his son should blow up the school.

"My son's response is . . . 'I would never do something like that,' " Bernhardt said.

Police said no weapons were found on Bernhardt or in a search of his home.

In the July 20 Colorado shooting, gunman James Eagan Holmes opened fire during the premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 and wounding 58.With John Hildebrand

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