Archive for Friday, April 20, 2007

Schools nationwide handle wave of threats

April 20, 2007

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— 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, faces one felony count of making a threatening communication through the Internet. He was being held on $30,000 bail.

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. Today is the eighth anniversary of the Columbine attacks.

A 12,000-student school district in Yuba City, Calif., was locked down Thursday as authorities searched for a man they say threatened to dwarf the Virginia Tech attacks.

Police said they arrested a former Kalamazoo Valley, Mich., community college student who posted Internet messages praising the Virginia Tech shooting. Officials closed the college's two campuses through the weekend.

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.

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