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Teen and dad arrested, weapons seized from home after alleged threats against Rancho Bernardo High School

Posted at 6:11 AM, Jan 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-30 20:41:19-05

RANCHO BERNARDO, Calif. (KGTV) – A Rancho Bernardo High School student and his father were arrested after officials learned the teen allegedly made threats against the school.

Poway Unified School District Chief Communications Officer Christine Paik told ABC 10News that the student was taken into police custody last Friday, Jan. 26.

Paik said, “This is a situation where everything went right. The students saw some videos, they heard some statements that were really concerning, and I think by what was found in the search warrant, those fears were valid.”

Those students went to school officials about what they learned, and the school took that information to San Diego Police.

The student, who was not identified, was arrested on suspicion of making the threats on Friday.

After the student's arrest, police said, “The teen’s parents were contacted regarding the incident. A Gun Violence Restraining Order was issued and served to the juvenile. A search warrant was obtained and served at the juvenile’s residence to secure any firearms they may have access to.”

ABC 10News learned the student’s father, identified as 45-year-old Neal Anders, was arrested on Monday. The ABC 10News Breaking News Tracker was at Anders’ home early Tuesday morning as police seized items from the house, including dozens of ghost guns, bomb and gun-making materials, emergency food rations and multiple computers.

San Diego Fire’s Bomb Squad personnel also removed an RPG rocket launcher from the house.

"You look at multiple assault rifles, shotguns, handguns, a grenade launcher..." SDPD Chief David Nisleit said. "This had the making to be a very violent act, so that's why I'm very proud that we're able to stop this type of stuff."

Anders faces charges of possession of illegal firearms, manufacturing assault weapons and possession of a destructive device. He is being held on $300,000 bail.

The day after the student’s arrest, Rancho Bernardo High Principal Hans Becker sent a letter to families to notify them of a threat being averted.

In the letter, Becker said San Diego Police would be at the school for the week to make sure students felt safe. He commended the brave students who spoke up and followed the “see something, say something” protocol.

"The fact that our students and staff were able to come to school today and learn and teach safely today, that's huge,” Paik said.

Several parents and students told ABC 10News on Tuesday morning that they felt safe knowing SDPD officers were on and around the campus.

Paik said counselors and San Diego Police would be at the school all week to give the students reassurance of their safety, but to also continue their investigation.

SDPD Chief David Nisleit said, “The San Diego Police Department takes all reports of potential threats to our schools and public very seriously. SDPD’s Northeastern Division, Ghost Gun Team, MAST and Threat Management Unit worked tirelessly and collaboratively in this case to ensure the safety of the students at Rancho Bernardo High School and all residents. I commend them for their outstanding work.”

10News asked the chief what happened differently in this case compared to others in which someone planning a mass shooting followed through with it.

"I'm only going to speak for us. I'm not going to speak on what happens across the nation," Nisleit said. "We have a team and we have great coordination with all of our partners that takes every single threat that we become aware of seriously... It's all of us working together to make certain we take all of these threats, and we do our very best to stop them."

Anders was expected to be arraigned Feb. 1.