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At the Vista courthouse on May 23, Twin Oaks High School assistant principal Todd Marquet testified that 18-year-old Ernesto Gomez had been in attendance for two years before trouble arose.

When Gomez got into an argument with a new student on February 7 of this year, he was sent to Marquet’s office.

“We got Ernesto’s backpack,” said Marquet at the preliminary hearing. “We found a large kitchen knife.”

Sheriff’s deputy John Delocht was called that day. He estimated the knife’s blade was longer than seven inches.

“It was in a backpack, inside a binder,” said the deputy. “He admitted bringing the knife to school.” The deputy said the teen told him he had the knife for “protection” because he had been harassed at a bus stop near his home. “There is a gang element in that area,” Delocht confirmed.

Gomez faced one felony charge of bringing a weapon to school. Public defender Alejandro Morales asked judge Martin Staven to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, but the judge noted that Gomez had a December 2010 conviction in juvenile court for robbery and declined the motion.

Gomez is being held on the single felony charge, is pleading not guilty, is in custody in lieu of $25,000 bail, and is next due in court on June 23.

Pictured: Ernesto Gomez, Alejandro Morales

Photo credit: Bob Weatherston

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