BAY SHORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island teenager has been charged with making a terroristic threat on Twitter, police announced Thursday.
According to Suffolk County Police, Mario Cernas, 19, posted that there would be a shooting during a high school soccer game at the Dowling College Sports Complex in Shirley.
“If one of the two teams didn’t win the soccer game tonight, that he was going to shoot someone. He followed that up with another Twitter posting that someone was going to die,” Suffolk County Police Lt. Kevin Beyrer told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “People were talking about the game and he made these statements in the course of a conversation.”
Cernas posted the threat on Monday, saying the shooting was to happen on Thursday, police said.
As CBS 2’s Tamara Leitner reported, Cernas’ family said the tweet was a simple rant on social media, not a terroristic threat.
“He’s a great kid,” the teen’s uncle, Adan Campos, said.
Campos said his nephew has always had a love for soccer and is still a devoted fan.
“He’s a soccer player like me. I’m a coach, I’m a soccer coach,” Campos told Leitner.
But police say Cernas took that soccer fervor too far when he tweeted out a threat against a soccer team that beat his favorite team.
It appears to have all started Monday afternoon after Smithtown West defeated Brentwood. Things got heated after the game, Leitner reported.
“Nobody would have said anything if they hadn’t started talking after the game that they beat Brentwood this and that. And then, obviously, people are going to say stuff back,” Cernas’ cousin, Anna Campos, told Leitner.
Anna Campos and her brother, Elvin, were at the game with Cernas.
“They lost, so it’s hard being the fans we are,” Elvin Campos told Leitner.
The family’s love of soccer is obvious by the trophies displayed prominently at the family’s Bay Shore home.
But investigators say the Twitter post went too far.
“People see it, people get threatened by it. It’s taken very seriously, it’s a very serious charge. This is a very stupid for him to say and a very stupid thing for him to post,” Beyrer said.
Cernas was arrested at his home in Bay Shore on Wednesday evening and charged with making a terroristic threat, a felony.
He did not have any weapons in his possession, police said.
Cernas was arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Thursday. He faces seven years behind bars if convicted.
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