A University of Colorado freshman was arrested in his dormitory over the weekend after he allegedly threatened to harm a dog belonging to his hall director -- in what police are characterizing as a criminal act of retaliation.
CU police said Samuel Gray, 18, also threatened that his hall director and senior resident adviser "were going to feel it." The charge -- retaliation against a witness or victim -- is considered a Class 3 felony.
Police said Gray, an economics major, made the threat because he was upset the dorm staff called campus police about a series of male genitalia he drew on students' door-mounted white boards in Sewall Hall early Saturday morning. He also wrote the word "fag" on the door of resident adviser, Jordan Darrington, according to a police report.
Police ticketed Gray on a misdemeanor charge of defacing property.
But later in the day, officers returned to Sewall Hall after receiving an e-mail from Darrington that stated Gray told him he would "hurt" Hall Director Colleen Schmidt's dog in retaliation for turning him in to police.
Darrington told police that Gray said Schmidt and Brandon Springer, the senior resident adviser in the on-campus dorm, "were going to feel it." He also referred to Springer as a "faggot" during his conversation with Darrington, according to the report.
CU police arrested Gray in his dormitory Sunday morning and him to the Boulder County Jail.
He is no longer in custody but it's not clear what bond he had to post for his release.
Gray told police he had spoken in anger but "did not mean anything by it."
"Gray explained that everything he said was taken out of context and that he did not mean to threaten anyone," the report states.
Gray, who is from San Francisco, didn't return a message left on his cell phone Monday. Schmidt and Darrington referred questions to the university. Springer couldn't be reached.
Cmdr. Tim McGraw said a call concerning an allegation of retaliation by a student toward university staff is "very uncommon."
Investigators initially looked into whether Gray had committed a bias-motivated crime by using a derogatory term for gays, but they were unable to determine if any of Gray's intended targets are homosexual or if Gray knew their sexual orientation.
"The initial analysis is that this is not a hate crime," McGraw said. "Unless a perpetrator is aware of that and uses that as a motivating factor, it's not a hate crime."
The report notes that Darrington told police that he didn't think Gray used the derogatory term to retaliate against anyone's sexual orientation but rather out of anger that he had been issued a summons.
Bronson Hilliard, a CU spokesman, said it is not the university's role to determine if a hate crime has occurred in student housing.
"When somebody uses derogatory language on someone's white board, we as a matter of protocol call police and tell them this has happened and let them investigate to see if it's a bias-motivated incident," he said.
He said there has been no decision made on whether Gray might be disciplined by the school for his alleged actions.
"Certainly, intimidating university staff or retaliating against university staff would constitute a violation of the CU code of conduct," Hilliard said.
He said free speech protections don't extend to physical threats.
"When you threaten someone for doing something we expect them to do, that crosses a significant line," he said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer John Aguilar at 303-473-1389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.