At a Glance | January 7

Kenilworth Man Barred From Teaching in New Jersey After Admitting He Made Shooting Threats

A Kenilworth (Union County) man can no longer hold a public job in New Jersey, including as a teacher, after admitting he threatened gun violence against a school he taught at. Matthew Acosta, 34, pleaded guilty on January 3 to disorderly conduct for comments he directed toward Orange Avenue School (pictured) of the Cranford Public School District in Union County, where he worked as a special education teacher. Under terms of his sentencing, Acosta must forfeit his teaching position in the district and is permanently banned from visiting district property. He is also no longer eligible to hold public employment in New Jersey. On November 1, Acosta made a comment to a colleague about bringing in a gun and shooting up the school. The co-worker told the principal, who called police. Acosta initially faced charges of terroristic threats and risking widespread injury or damage.


Teen Charged After Making Online Threats Against 3 Maryland Schools

Authorities arrested a 14-year-old girl on January 2 after they said she made threats against two high schools and a middle school in Maryland through email. The teenager, who has not been identified because she is a juvenile, is charged with making threats of mass violence, electronic threats mailed to minor, and obscene matter/possession with intent to distribute. The Prince George’s County Police Department said that the teen confessed to making the threats against Bladensburg High School, Parkdale High School, and William Wirt Middle School, which are all part of the Prince George’s County Public Schools district. Police Chief Hank Stawinski said all of the teen’s computer equipment was seized during a search of her home. Police did not reveal the nature of the threats; however, an investigation determined they were not credible as she did not have the means to follow through. Police are still trying to determine a motive, and the targeted schools received increased security out of what officials called “an abundance of caution.”


3 Stabbed in New Year’s Eve Attack at Train Station in England

A couple and a police sergeant suffered injuries in a stabbing attack being treated as an act of terrorism at a Manchester, England, train station on New Year’s Eve. Police said that a 25-year-old man, who has not been identified, attacked a man and woman in their 50s as well as the officer at Manchester’s Victoria Station around 9 p.m. on December 31. Police officers arrested the attacker after using pepper spray and an electric stun gun, according to a witness. The witness said the man shouted “Allah” during the attack, as well as “God is greatest” in Arabic while being taken away by police. Police noted the suspect is in a secure medical facility, and they will consult with medical professionals to determine whether charges can be brought against him. The couple suffered injuries to their abdomens, and the woman also had facial wounds. The injuries are not life-threatening. The police sergeant stabbed in the shoulder while subduing the attacker was released from the hospital the next day. Counterterrorism officers are leading the investigation and stated they believe the man acted alone in conducting the attack; however, they have not ruled out possible involvement from others during earlier stages. The incident occurred close to Manchester Arena, where a suicide bomber killed 22 attending a concert in 2017.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Intelligence Management Bureau at outreach@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.