Man Turns Self in Over Plan to Hurt, Traumatize Children: Cops

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013  |  Updated 4:12 PM EDT
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Fairfield Police

Police have arrested Joseph Russo, a Fairfield man who told police he intended to hurt elementary school children and was afraid he'd carry out the threat.

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Police have arrested a Connecticut man who reported himself to police and asked for help because he wanted to hurt Fairfield elementary school students, take them hostage and traumatize them, police said.

Police responded to a call for help at 80 Post Road at 11:39 p.m. on Oct 27 after Joseph Russo, 44, of 136 Longview Avenue Fairfield, called them, police said.  

Russo appeared to be distraught and provided officers disturbing details of his intent to harm students at Roger Sherman Elementary School, according to police. 

Russo told investigators he had thought about his plan for years, intended one day to carry out the actions and wanted immediate help so he would not hurt school children, according to police.

Fairfield, located about half an hour away Newtown, is one of the many Connecticut communities on high alert since the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year.

Because Russo posed a significant and potential danger to others, police had an ambulance transport him to St. Vincent’s Medical Center for an emergency evaluation. 

From there, they worked with Fairfield School district and directed them to let personnel know about the threat and that the person was being evaluated. 

Police said Russo was in protective custody of St. Vincent’s Medical Center as police investigated, so he posed no direct threat to the public.

As police investigated, they also learned that Russo had previously made similar threats to others that he wanted to take students hostage to traumatize them. 

An arrest warrant for Russo was signed on Nov. 22. He was released from a medical facility at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, taken into custody and charged with threatening first degree and threatening an act of terrorism. 

Russo is being held on $75,000 court-set bond and is scheduled to appear in court today.

Police said they have maintained an open dialogue with the Fairfield School System and that will continue during the judicial process.

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