Three university employees are watching their backs after being informed of a threat made against their lives by a fellow employee last November.
On Nov. 24, senior custodians Ruben Maldonado, Alberto Herrera and another employee, who asked that his name be withheld, received a call from Associate Director of PF, Landscape, Environmental & Custodial Services Jon Cook telling them not to come to campus for the next three days because of a threat that had been made against them by a fellow employee, Maldonado said.
According to a temporary restraining order issued against senior custodian Jesus Renteria on Nov. 25, Renteria “became visibly agitated and extremely angry” during a psychological exam with Dr. David Appleton, who was evaluating Renteria for a workers’ compensation claim he had filed.
Renteria reportedly said, “I am going to kill Alfredo Herrera, [name withheld] and Ruben Maldonado.”
After his examination of Renteria, Appleton informed the university that he was issuing a Tarasoff warning, which states, “a psychotherapist who is confronted with a patient who makes a credible threat against another identified person must take reasonable steps to prevent harm to that person.”
The temporary restraining order required Renteria to stay at least 500 yards away from the threatened employees, as well as the UCSB campus, until a Dec. 16 court hearing to decide whether a restraining order was warranted.
On Dec. 16, the court ruled that a restraining order was necessary and ordered that Renteria stay at least 100 yards away from the UCSB campus and the threatened employees unless the university decides otherwise. Renteria did not contest the restraining order, which lasts until March 2004.
Maldonado said he was outraged because he complained a year before that Renteria was “picking on” him and nothing was done about it.
“This should have been taken care of a year ago,” Maldonado said. “Now the guy says he’s going to kill me.”
The anonymous employee said he and Renteria had been friends before, and so he was surprised to hear about the threat. “What did we do? We really don’t know,” he said.
Herrera and Renteria could not be reached for comment.
Maldonado said he didn’t know why Renteria would threaten them but said he believes the reasons are personal. He also said he was concerned the university was not taking the threats seriously enough.
“When a man says he’s gonna kill you, he’s gonna kill you,” Maldonado said. “I love my life and I want to live the rest of my life until I die.”