UTICA – After a member of the Utica College community sent NEWSChannel 2 a photo of Fahrudin Omerovic inside Strebel Hall on Monday, investigators are now calling on students to send them any pictures of Omerovic at the college on the same day he’s accused of making phone threats that caused the school to be on lockdown.
Hearing about it is one thing, but seeing it is a different story.
The photos sent to us show Fahrudin Omerovic sitting inside the hallway of Stebel Hall, one of the “safe zones” that law enforcement evacuated students and staff to during the lockdown.
Calico Yaworski is a senior at Utica College and she says she was a year behind Omerovic when she attended Proctor High School. She says he seemed like any ordinary student.
“I’m interested to know more, honestly,” Yaworski said. “I don't have many thoughts on it right now. I'm just confused, and I think a lot of people are.”
That includes Omerovic’s family, who saw no warning signs.
We spoke with Omerovic’s attorney on Thursday and he says they have concerns that these allegations could ruin his future.
“The family is very concerned about how this is going to impact his education, and his future, but they thoroughly understand the seriousness of it, the immense ramifications of such an act,” said John Rasponte, Omerovic’s defense attorney.
Law enforcement is asking students with photos of Omerovic to be turned over, and Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara says some of them may be helpful moving forward.
“I know from a couple that we have seen … that they are helpful to our case, and we would like them, so we’re just asking students to forward them to us if they have them,” McNamara said.
Students say that even though Omerovic was there with them during the lockdown on Monday, police followed procedures to vet each student before they were brought to the Strebel Center safe zone.
Rasponte says that although he hasn’t seen the photographs yet, they could change the way he defends his client as they move closer to trial.
Omerovic is charged with felony making a terroristic threat. A felony hearing has been set for Monday, March 12 in Utica City Court, at which time witnesses will testify and the judge will determine if there’s sufficient evidence to turn the case over to a grand jury for possible indictment.