Accused teen not a student at Palisade High

Robert Dell Johnson spent most of the past two years outside of the school he allegedly planned to attack before his arrest Monday, according to Palisade High School Principal Matt Diers.

Johnson, 18, was arrested by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of unspecified threats against Palisade High, and his arrest affidavit was filed under seal Tuesday.

Johnson spent at least two years enrolled in one of School District 51’s satellite programs, Diers said Wednesday.

Satellite programs, such as the alternative Valley School or the online program Novell Stars, serve students that feel they don’t fit best in a traditional school setting.

Diers said the school learned from “a couple different sources,” including “at least one district staff member,” about Johnson’s suspected plan. None of the sources were students, he said.

School officials began discussing a plan of action regarding the information about Johnson by 11 a.m. Monday, Diers said.

By then, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and the Palisade Police Department had been informed of the situation.

Diers said Sheriff’s Department deputies interviewed “about 12 students” before arresting Johnson, whose bond was set at $100,000 during his initial court appearance Tuesday.

Despite the flurry of activity at the start of the week, Diers said Palisade High students and staff have tried to have “as normal a day of school as possible” and welcome anyone with concerns to speak with administration members.

“It’s been a pretty normal day out here,” Diers said Wednesday.


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