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February 6, 2014

TOWN OF TONAWANDA: FBI questions school trespasser

Tonawanda News — The Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned a man who trespassed into a Town of Tonawanda school on Tuesday and made comments about the Sandy Hook massacre, a police report states.

Students at the school observed a man walking upstairs in a trench coat, and School Resource Officer Richard Engler then saw a black male on the school’s security cameras. 

Engler confronted him at 2:26 p.m., the report indicates. 

The man, identified as Derie O. Mohamed, told Engler that he was a visitor, but had not signed in. It was unclear how Mohamed entered the school. 

“While he was speaking ... he stated that he was glad that security was tight at the school because of Sandy Hook,” the police report states.

Mohamed also asked if teachers should be armed due to the various security risks following the Dec. 2012 massacre at the Connecticut elementary school that left 26 dead.

Engler arrested Mohamed, and he was charged with third-degree criminal trespassing.

At some point, Mohamed unsolicitedly told officers “I am not a terrorist,” and told them that he visited Somalia a few years ago. 

FBI investigators told police that he had just returned from Somalia in December and has also visited Djibouti. 

The FBI agent was “very interested with Mohamed,” the police report states. FBI investigators interviewed Mohamed Tuesday evening, and he was then transported to the Erie County Holding Center. 

Town of Tonawanda police did not respond to inquires about the incident and the report did not identify the school in question.

Mohamed has been arrested at least two other times. In 2010, City of Tonawanda police charged him with petit larceny for stealing alcohol from a Sunoco on Delaware Street. At the time, he lived on Hillcrest Street and was 32 years old. 

Mohamed was living in the Town of Tonawanda in 2006 when he was charged with obstructing government administration, reckless driving, speeding, passing through a red light, improper right turn, failure to yield and failure to obey police.

He had allegedly evaded police and drove from the City of Tonawanda into Buffalo, running multiple red lights. 

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