School Districts Nationwide Scramble To Handle Wave Of Va. Tech- And Columbine-Related Threats
Thursday, April 19th 2007, 11:10 am
News On 6
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A Web designer was charged Thursday with posting on his own site a bogus threat to kill 50 San Diego State University students, then alerting a TV station to try to draw publicity, the FBI said.
Cristobal Fernando Gonzalez, 32, was faces one felony count of making a threatening communication through the Internet. He was being held on $30,000 bail.
His parents said outside the federal courthouse that he was remorseful.
``I hope it doesn't ruin his future,'' said his mother, Diana Gomez.
Scores of schools across the country shut down or evacuated students Thursday and at least a dozen people were arrested or under investigation as the wave of campus threats that started soon after the Virginia Tech shootings spread in the time it takes to make a phone call or post a message on the Internet. At least two students were arrested for bringing guns onto campus.
The overwhelming majority of the threats referred to Monday's massacre in Blacksburg, Va., or the 1999 Columbine High School killings, authorities said. Friday is the eighth anniversary of the Columbine attacks.
A 12,000-student school district in Yuba City, Calif., about 35 miles north of Sacramento, was locked down Thursday as authorities searched for a man they say threatened to dwarf the Virginia Tech attacks, in which gunman Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 people and himself.
The man told a pastor Wednesday night that ``he had some sort of explosive device and he was going to make the incident at Virginia Tech look mild by comparison,'' Sutter County Sheriff Jim Denney said.
Officials canceled classes and activities for Friday at school districts in Yuba and neighboring Sutter counties, as well as at Yuba College. Classes were expected to resume Monday.
``We're just erring on the side of caution,'' said Dave Morrow, an administrator with the Yuba City Unified School District.
In Michigan, police said they arrested a former Kalamazoo Valley Community College student who posted Internet messages praising the Virginia Tech shooting. Officials closed the college's two campuses through the weekend.
The 26-year-old man ``said his intent was just to evoke a response from other people,'' sheriff's Lt. Terry VanStreain said. ``He got a response from us, I guarantee you that.''
Among other arrests and school scares Thursday:
_ A high school student in Federal Way, Wash., near Seattle, was arrested after authorities said he brought three loaded guns and extra ammunition.
_ A 20-year-old man in Bismarck, N.D., was charged with saying on a blog that the Virginia Tech massacre was funny and that he had plans for a school shooting rampage.
_ A high school student in Fort Smith, Ark., was arrested after police said he scrawled a message on a classroom desk saying he wanted to ``be a hero'' like Cho.
_ In St. Augustine, Fla., a 14-year-old high school student was charged with threatening in an e-mail between friends to top the Virginia Tech massacre by killing 100 people, a sheriff's spokesman said.
_ Two more bomb threats came in by phone to St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, the third straight day since Monday's massacre that the school had received a threat.
_ A letter referring to Columbine was posted on a locker room wall at Community R-6 School in Laddonia, Mo. The school was locked down for much of the day. Officials said they would allow parents to keep their children home Friday.