The mystery surrounding the arrest of a Sunnyside teacher for threatening his students in an Elmhurst school deepened Thursday, July 22, when the charges against him were suddenly dropped before he was scheduled to be arraigned before a judge.
Alejandro Rocha, 52, was arrested and charged on Wednesday, July 21, with ‘“making a terrorist threat” to his students, according to the NYPD, after he allegedly threatened to shoot his students at I.S. 5, The Walter Crowley Intermediate School, located at 50-40 Jacobus St. in Elmhurst.
While none of the students in his art class complained, Rocha “self-reported” the incident to a superior who called the NYPD. Police from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst arrested him later in the day.
As he was awaiting his arraignment the following day the charges were dropped and Rocha was released without explanation. The NYPD on Friday, July 23, would not comment on the case and the Queens District Attorney’s office was tight-lipped, saying only that the investigation is ongoing.
Rocha began as a substitute teacher with the city Department of Education in September 2001. He has no prior disciplinary history, according to a source with knowledge of the case.
“This is absolutely unacceptable,” a Department of Education spokesperson told QNS on July 22. “The substitute teacher was immediately suspended and if this deeply disturbing allegation is found to be true, he will be fired.”
Rocha is suspended without pay and is not eligible to work for the Department of Education.
This story was updated with the correct school name on Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 8 a.m.