Lawmakers weigh in on bail-eligible crimes under current NYS law after Manlius Tops threat

March 24, 2023

Originally published in CNY Central on March 24, 2023.

New York — Two weeks ago, police announced their arrest of a 20-year-old Jamesville man who threatened to commit a mass-shooting at a Manlius grocery store. Now, Zachary Mullen stands charged with making a terroristic threat, and an extreme risk protection order is in place—keeping him away from any type of firearm for a year.

Mullen is accused of using the social media platform Discord to post his plans to carry out a shooting at the Tops in Manlius. He did not make good on the threat, but police say they believe he might have. Mullen is accused of a violent felony but is currently at home with a GPS ankle monitor, awaiting his next court date.

Republican Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay considers the charge of making a terroristic threat incredibly serious, "In light of the shooting that took place in Buffalo at the Tops, the fact that this could happen in Syracuse, I think it's a very scary circumstance. And let's all be thankful that this didn't come to fruition," he said over Zoom from Albany. "What they've done when they've done bail reform in other states, is giving judges discretion to set bail when the perpetrator, or the alleged perpetrator of the crime is a danger to the community. So, certainly in this case it would strike me that someone that threatened to do a mass shooting at a grocery store is a danger to their community."

State Senator John Mannion pointed us to language in New York State law that shows violent felonies, including making a terroristic threat, are bail-eligible. Though CNY Central's past reporting on the Manlius case indicates the judge could not remand Mullen without bail after his arrest. "We should not have that situation. Now, listen, I'm not the judge in this situation, I don't have all the information, but I do know the law and the law is clear and been verified that this individual could've been held pre-trial on bail."

Both Sen. Mannion and Rep. Barclay agree those who reported the Manlius Tops threat and law enforcement that responded resulted in nobody getting hurt, the opposite of the tragedy that played out in Buffalo. "This is so similar to that, I think it's really scary. And again, I'm thrilled that it obviously didn't come to fruition but that doesn't mean we just let our guard down," Rep. Barclay said.

Both say they're hopeful that bail laws in the state will continue to strengthen.