UPDATE: Freedom of speech in question after Greece 'School Shooter' rap video

Randy Ross (Photo: Greece Police Department)

Greece, N.Y. – A Greece man is facing a felony charge after police say he made terroristic threats in a YouTube video.

Randy Ross, 23, is charged with making a terroristic threat, a class D felony.

According to police, Ross is seen saying and making terroristic threats, in a YouTube video, at various school properties belonging to the Greece Central School District.

They say Ross starred in his own music video, titled, "School Shooter."

"We investigated and determined it to be a threat," said Sgt. Jared Rene of the Greece Police Department.

Police say you can see him rapping in front of at least two buildings and attempting to open a locked door.

The video was published on YouTube last Monday, but police say they didn't know about it until a week later.

"People were concerned. They see their own local high schools in a video where the person is talking about a school shooting," said Rene.

Police say that was enough to charge him with a felony count of making a terroristic threat.

"You have no freedom to doing harm to someone in a school, or committing an act of violence in a school," said Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan. "If you do it in the town of Greece, you're going to get arrested."

The law spells out that someone is guilty of making a terroristic threat when he or she intends to intimidate or threatens to commit a violent act.

"Regardless of intent, the effect to cause alarm was disturbing," Chief Phelan said. "I thought it was important to immediately take action."

Defense Attorney Vince Merante says while the lyrics in the song should be taken seriously, it is an example of a citizen's right to free speech.

"He's a rapper," Merante said. "He did this with artistic value in mind, and his speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution. He doesn't specifically target a group of individuals or people in the community."

13WHAM stopped by his last-known address and did not get an answer. We did speak with his neighbors, who found the allegations shocking.

"Very saddening, actually," said neighbor Janice Gardner. "And to think, he lives right next door."

Danielle Tillotson has a 13-year-old child in the district.

"I mean, we all have kids in this district, and that's the last thing any of us want to hear at this point," said Tillotson.

Ross was remanded to the Monroe County Jail on $50,000 bail or $100,000 bond.

Responding to an inquiry from 13WHAM News, the Greece Central School District sent the following statement Tuesday night:

We were made aware of the video by a resident who also contacted Greece Police. We cooperated with their investigation and were recently notified that an arrest was made. This case is evidence that the community is heeding the advice of school leaders by observing, reporting, and following up on all suspicious activity. In the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, FLA, school districts have seen an uptick in calls to anonymous tip lines. Communities are banding together to do whatever it takes to keep our kids and our schools are safe. Remember – if you see something, say something. As a district, we are grateful to those who reported this video and we appreciate the Greece Police Department for their continued partnership and proactive handling of this situation.
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