Dennis “DJ” Hernandez was arrested outside his Bristol home on July 18, 2023 in connection to an alleged school shooting plot. According to the warrant provided by police, Hernandez traveled to the University of Connecticut Storrs campus on July 7 and entered multiple classrooms and buildings to “map out” the university while “planning to do a school shooting.” The university released a statement regarding the incident saying, “at the time, there was no known imminent threat to UConn.”
Hernandez is a former UConn football quarterback and wide-receiver who served as the team’s captain for two years from 2007-2008. Hernandez was originally arrested in March for an incident in which he threw a brick with an attached note into ESPN’s national headquarters. He was arrested by police and was to appear in court to face the chargers on July 7. He did not appear for this court hearing, and the police arrest warrant alleges that Hernandez instead went to both the UConn Storrs campus and the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
“Victim also informed me that Dennis traveled to Brown University and UCONN to ‘map the schools out.’ Victim surmised that he did this because he was planning to do a ‘school shooting,’” the arrest warrant stated.
The warrant was initially prompted by two individuals that were victims of Hernandez. They spoke to his deteriorating mental health, erratic behavior and their fear that he might possibly harm others.
“She informed me that she currently resides in —- but has been receiving text messages from Dennis that were of concern. The messages of concern stated, ‘we’re taking lives if shit isn’t paid up. It’s been years in planning just taking notes, names and locations. They talked their way into this and it’s almost point game.’ Victim continued by expressing that Dennis is extremely sick and that his mental health is continuing to deteriorate,” the warrant stated.
After the incident in which Hernandez went to UConn’s Storrs campus, he allegedly made comments that suggested that he was preparing to carry out a school shooting on campus.
“She went on to tell me that as he was rambling about that incident, Dennis said that “he has a bullet for everyone, that he loves me (referring to —- but that even you’re —- not safe.” —- told me that she didn’t feel threatened specifically, but is concerned about what that comment meant, —- believed that Dennis is in mental health crisis and needs assistance.”
Srt. Ryan Brown of the UConn Police Department confirmed that Hernandez’s vehicle was present on campus on the day of July 7. The university released this statement on the matter.
“Police departments are continuously evaluating threats to individuals or a larger community. We need to continuously evaluate threats based on the best information we have at the time. This specific case is part of an ongoing investigation, however, in general, at times police will not have all the facts or specific details when an incident is first reported. As an investigation unfolds, more details are revealed to provide additional clarity to the situation and the response can be adjusted accordingly”Captain Justin Gilbert
“The UConn Police Department was aware of initial information related to the subsequent arrest of Dennis Hernandez by the Bristol Police Department. Police departments evaluate threats for credibility and imminence and the necessary resources are deployed to address the threat. At the time, there was no known imminent threat to UConn. The Bristol Police Department located Hernandez and took him into custody a short time later. The UConn Police Department treats any potential threat to our campus communities with the utmost seriousness. If anyone has any information on threats or concerns related to our campuses, they are urged to contact the UConn Police Department with this information as soon as possible,” UConn Deputy Spokesperson Michael Enright said.
Captain Justin Gilbert released the following statement in regards to specific details regarding the case, stating the department could not provide further detail to what Hernandez did on campus or other information relating to the case as it is an ongoing investigation.
“Police departments are continuously evaluating threats to individuals or a larger community. We need to continuously evaluate threats based on the best information we have at the time. This specific case is part of an ongoing investigation, however, in general, at times police will not have all the facts or specific details when an incident is first reported. As an investigation unfolds, more details are revealed to provide additional clarity to the situation and the response can be adjusted accordingly,” Captain Gilbert said.
Hernandez also posted cryptic threats on his social media, stating that he will “absolutely” kill. With other subsequent posts featuring targets and names of specific individuals. The names of these individuals have been redacted from the arrest warrant.
“Additionally, on 7/19/23, Dennis continued to provide numerous social media posts that contained threatening and concerning language. Most of the posts were ramblings about those who have wronged him. However, the last line in the first post read “Will I kill? Absolutely, I’ve warned my enemies so pay up front.” Dennis continued to post as the morning continued, typing similar posts with targets over the names of —-. Additionally, in a subsequent post he said that victim deserves to die and that he is coming for her and her family,” the arrest warrant stated.
In communication with the primary victims cited in the arrest warrant, victims stated that Hernandez was most frustrated regarding pay from the university, and directly mentioned university coaches and officials in his threat. He ended the message sent from the university campus that, “not all shootings are bad I’m realizing.”
“Additionally, she informed me that she had a screenshot of a text message that was sent to her, from another family member. In that text message, dated 7/7/23 at 7:07AM, Dennis is rambling about UCONN and ends the text message ‘UConn program is going to pay unless I have a package deal and I get my estate and every single thing I have worked for, The coaches and university officials want to be selfish and selective about shit, well I am too. Very. They are going to get surprised. Love you, I would recommend remaining away from there because when I go I’m taking down everything And don’t give a fuck who gets caught in the cross fire. I’ve died for wears now and now it’s others peoples turn. I’m prepared to give my life So if I don’t get to see you on the outside know I love you always Not all shootings are bad I’m realizing. Some are necessary for change to happen,’” Hernandez said via text message.
This is the second shooting threat that has been leveled against the university in less than three months, with the Sociology Department being threatened at the end of the Spring 2023 semester. Dennis Hernandez is being held on $250,000 bail and is due back in court on Aug. 1, 2023.