CCSU Threat Suspect Arraigned

Rufino Cotto Martinez is being held on $550,000 bond.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    People are being kept in the bookstore at CCSU because of threat. The mug shot to the left is the suspect.

    The man accused of making the threat that led to an hour-and-a-half-long lock-down at Central Connecticut State University is now being held on a $550,000 bond.

    Police said they tracked Rufino Cotto-Martinez, 47, down through his cell phone, and arrested him in Willimantic for making threats against his ex-girlfriend, Vangie Vasquez, and others on the campus.

    Cotto-Martinez was arraigned on Thursday morning in New Britain Superior Court. His attorney said he is homeless and unable to post bond.

    It all started around 8:30 Wednesday morning when Cotto-Martinez called a C.C.S.U. police officer and said, "You no put out Vangie Vasquez, I go to University killing everybody,okay," according to court records.  Vasquez is a food services worker on the campus.

    Around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, school officials told people on campus to stay in their rooms and secure their doors after campus police received a "credible threat" to kill people, according to the university.

    "It (the threat) was against her and the university, that he wanted to come here and kill her and people at the university and just kill people," Mark McLaughlin, of C.C.S.U., said. "When police got that, we began to make plans for our emergency notification system."

    School officials said Martinez was the subject of a similar alert in June 2011. 

    Before police closed in on Cotto-Martinez, he called Vasquez repeatedly.  Police instructed her to answer one of those calls and recorded it, according to court records. 

    During that conversation, Cotto-Martinez talked in Spanish and said, "They are not going to catch me before I get you," according to court records.  He went on to say, "I am going to beat you up and if I can't get you I will get someone else," according to court records.

    After his arrest, police described his behavior as "combative" and said he had to be physically restrained on the ride to C.C.S.U., according to court records.  Once on campus, he refused to be fingerprinted and kicked the door of the campus holding cell so many times that the lock broke, according to officials and court records.

    "You get people who don't like to be arrested so they resist and that's what happens," said Chief Jason Powell of the C.C.S.U. Police Department.

    Overall, Chief Powell says he's pleased with how the university handled the situation.

    There were some kinks in the emergency notification process, such as alerts going to incoming freshmen.  Powell says the system will be reviewed by university officials.

    "I think there's room for improvement.  We're gonna be talking about that internally.  I think as technological changes occur and expectations change there's always an opportunity to look at the system and find out if there's ways to improve it," said Powell.

    Some students said the system worked well.

    "I was really impressed overall,” Arielle Kubie, a student, said. “You think something scary like this would make you spooked, but kind of the lasting impression I got was, whoa, I feel very secure knowing that if something were to happen on campus. It was like instant and really, really well-organized."     

    Cotto-Martinez is charged with first and second degree threatening and terrorism.

    At the time this happened, he was also on probation for harassing Vasquez.  He also faces a criminal charge for violating that probation.