Dean at Aurora West held on $200K bond after court appearance; principal on administrative leave

Prosecutors say Rae took photos at school
Posted at 11:36 AM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 13:36:07-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. – The dean at Aurora West College Preparatory Academy arrested last week and accused of threatening school officials on campus with a gun will remain jailed on a $200,000 bond after his first court appearance Wednesday morning. The principal of the school, whom he is accused of threatening, has also been placed on leave.

Tushar Rae, 30, is being held on suspicion of possession of a weapon on school grounds and carrying a concealed weapon charges after his arrest last Thursday. The former count is a class 6 felony and the latter is a class 2 misdemeanor. Rae has not been formally charged in the case.

Rae’s defense attorney asked for his client’s $200,000 bond to be reduced in court Wednesday, saying Rae could not afford the bond and arguing that he was not a flight risk because he is a property owner and has worked most of his adult life in the education sector.

Prosecutors said they expected more charges to be filed when formal charges are announced. The return of filing of charges hearing for the case is set for April 15.

According to an affidavit for Rae’s arrest, he had been in an argument with Aurora West Principal Taisiya “Taya” Tselolikhina last Tuesday over testing at the school and “about not receiving acknowledgment and recognition he felt was owed.”

Rae texted Tselolikhina the next day around 2 p.m., telling her to meet in his office after he hadn’t shown up to school that day. While in the office, Rae allegedly pulled a handgun from his waistband and placed in on a desk.

“Try and f—k with me,” he allegedly told her, according to the affidavit. “You shouldn’t have said what you said. I don’t want to hurt you. I’m going to hurt all the people around you.”

He then said he was going to “shoot the kneecaps off of Jessica and Denise.” Jessica Rodriguez is an assistant principal at the school and Denise Huber is another dean of instruction.

He allegedly then asked Tselolikhina what she was going to do about it.

“I came prepared,” he allegedly told her, then patted his pocket and said “he had two extra rounds.” He also allegedly told her to walk away or he would “shoot the next person outside the door.”

After two students knocked on the door, Tselolikhina left Rae’s office and began to place the school on lockdown, the affidavit says.

In court Wednesday, prosecutors said that after the encounter between the two, Rae went to different parts of the school, took photos and texted them to the principal.

Aurora Public Schools spokesperson Corey Christiansen said Wednesday that Tselolikhina was on administrative leave as well.

“Because this is a personnel matter, we are unable to share additional information,” Christiansen said.

According to his arrest affidavit, Rae admitted to sending text messages that day “that he should not have sent,” but the document does not make clear what the content of those messages was.

Rae went to his home in Denver, where police were summoned and arrested Rae. They found a handgun and three magazines in his bedroom closet.

Rae was arrested at the time on suspicion of felony menacing and misdemeanor interference with staff, faculty, or students of an educational institution. He posted a $25,000 bond, after which the Aurora Police Department sent officers to the school and the homes of school staff to ensure their safety.

Rae was arrested again the next day on the charges on which he is currently being held. There have been questions from parents and students at the school about the timeline by which they were told of the incident. Rae is currently barred from school grounds pending the outcome of his criminal case.

His attorney declined to comment to Denver7 after court Wednesday. Rae is next due in court on April 15.