A 25-year-old man accused of making threats toward River Falls High School in 2017 has been barred from school grounds after returning to the community. The suspect, a former RFHS student, has reportedly returned to River Falls after serving probation time.
According to River Falls police records, an officer was informed Christopher K. Mariana of St. Paul had moved back to River Falls.
Mariana returned after serving 12 months of probation for disorderly conduct, a charge stemming from his initial threats against River Falls High School made in Winnebago County while he was serving jail time.
The trespass order, which was signed on Aug. 1 by Mariana and River Falls School District Superintendent Jamie Benson, will be in effect for one year.
"Given the history of our concern, we felt it was in the best interest of our students and staff to work with the police department on this matter," Benson said in a recent phone interview. "We are working and will continue to work with police and taken additional security measures, some of which we would prefer not to disclose publicly. We will continue to monitor things very closely."
Police Chief Gordon Young said the River Falls schools already have police presence in place.
Mariana was serving 48 months at Wisconsin Resource Center state prison for a September 2013 felony burglary conviction when he first made the threats, according to court documents. He allegedly told corrections staff in December 2017 he planned to “get weapons and guns” when he was released and “kill people” at River Falls High School.
Oshkosh and River Falls police initiated a joint investigation in February 2018. An Oshkosh police report stated Mariana had a “hit list” of people he wanted to kill at the high school motivated by his past experiences as a bully victim.
Mariana reportedly had the assault planned, according to a confession collected in the report.
“I know the police would be called by the liaison officer after about one minute 30 seconds in,” Mariana said. “I know the nearest SWAT team isn't in that town, but the next, it would probably take eight more minutes to get to the school.
“I would take hostages on the second floor balcony by then. Then it would be suicide by cop, but I could take probably 20 or 30 people with me.”
Chief Young and Superintendent Benson said in May 2018 the police and schools have a working relationship and consistently review security concerns.