Zachary Simeone placed under house arrest after allegedly threatening ex-girlfriend, UMass campus

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

By Patrick Hoff

A week after allegedly threatening to “shoot up” the University of Massachusetts, a Dalton man has been placed under house arrest for allegedly targeting his ex-girlfriend, a UMass student, and her boyfriend, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.

According to the Gazette, Zachary Simeone, 22, pleaded not guilty in Eastern Hampshire District Court on Oct. 2 to charges of making a threat against a public university (mass shooting), assault with a dangerous weapon and two counts of threatening to commit a crime (murder).

Initially, District Court Judge Patricia Poehler refused to release Simeone, even with conditions suggested by the prosecution and defense, claiming that Simeone was too dangerous to be released. However, Simeone’s attorney appealed the decision to Hampshire Superior Court, and  Judge Bertha D. Josephson agreed to release Simeone on many conditions.

According to the Gazette, Simeone must abide by a restraining order the woman has against him, stay away from UMass and the entire town of Amherst, except to drive on Bay Road to court dates in Belchertown. He must remain on house arrest except for medical, court or legal appointments and to travel to and from his job as a cook at Ozzie’s Steak & Eggs in Hinsdale. He must wear a GPS monitor and stay away from the homes of people he threatened. He may not handle firearms, and he was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and follow recommendations, including taking medication and avoiding alcohol.

UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski told the Gazette that UMass always takes these threats seriously, and Simeone has been issued a trespass order.

In court records, it says Simeone got angry the afternoon of Oct. 1 when he found out his ex-girlfriend of six years, who he had hoped to reconnect with, was talking to another man on social media that she was interested in.

The woman, who called UMass Police around 9 p.m. after the incident, told officers that over the course of a few hours, Simeone texted her over 67 times and called her 45 times, extremely upset but not threatening. Later, he began sending the woman pictures of himself behind the wheel of a vehicle, including one of him holding a knife with the caption “I’m in my car on my way to Amherst.”

Simeone also sent a number of text messages threatening to kill the man the woman had started dating, the woman told police, and she was scared Simeone would hurt both her and her boyfriend, according to the Gazette.

He sent text messages, the woman told police, saying “he would shoot up the school (UMass) and said he would kill everyone if I didn’t answer him and that I would see him on the news.”

After the woman contacted police, UMPD did a check for accessible weapons and found that Simeone’s father, with whom Simeone lives, had a number of firearms registered to him for hunting purposes. Dalton police took Simeone into custody and he was charged by UMass Police.

Simeone’s threat came only hours after an on-campus shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon that left 10 people dead.

Simeone is due back in Eastern Hampshire District Court on Nov. 6.

Patrick Hoff can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Hoff_Patrick16.