By Megan Perry & Erik Luna
A male suspect, 19, is in custody after allegedly calling California Highway Patrol threatening he had a gun and was heading to a college campus in Monterey Park.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Nicole Nishida, the suspect was caught at Santa Monica College by campus police.
The East Los Angeles College sheriffs station received a call at 7:30 a.m. from CHP, which led to a campus evacuation, canceling classes for the rest of the day.
Although the caller did not specify which Monterey Park school, the caller’s geographical location was closest to the ELAC campus at the time of the phone call.
Sheriffs found no suspect or weapons at ELAC, but evacuated anyway as a precaution. Nishida also said that she didn’t have any information about SMC, or if the suspect was armed.
Nishida said that there were two separate threats on both college campuses, which were later linked to the suspect.
“I was thinking for the safety of everyone, trying to make sure that no one gets hurt. That’s the last thing that I wanted is to see anybody hurt,” Deputy Sheriff Frank Velasco said.
Cadets filled in the gaps by answering and making calls to faculty and students.
Resources were pulled from all nine campuses within the Los Angeles Community College District, including a helicopter overhead and K9 unit.
Fourteen schools were said to be on lockdown, including adjacent schools Brightwood Elementary School and Robert Hill Lane Elementary. ELAC was the only one evacuated.
The sheriff’s lifted the lockdown around 10 a.m. and the investigation is still underway.
* Summer Gomez contributed to this article
Suspect being escorted by SMC Police into custody twitter.com/The_Corsair/st…
— The Corsair (@The_Corsair) May 16, 2013
Suspect taken into custody by SMCPD twitter.com/The_Corsair/st…
— The Corsair (@The_Corsair) May 16, 2013
This article has 2 Comments
Great story! But did not the evacuation lead to a school shut down? I saw the comment on your professor’s Facebook page and was questioning why did ELAC shut down when the threat was directed at Santa Monica College? Safety? Apparently, Santa Monica College couldn’t care less about their student body when they resumed classes or ELAC overreacted but shutting down the college.
I remember visiting ELAC Campus News just hours after the attack on 9/11. Former Political Science Professor Bob Holcomb wondered why ELAC did NOT shut down, and many of the students seemed truly worried as rumors of more attack was imminent. Hindsight being 20/20, the students fared well while a few left. Holcomb’s assignment was to report on the attack.
But all went well. Yet, did ELAC overreact to the terrorist threat after the fact? And by shutting down the campus, to quote former President George W. Bush, had “the terrorist already won”? Though a reference to the jets flying into the buildings in New York, One in a field and one in the Pentagon…according to official statements, by succumbing to fear because of a threat by shutting down the whole campus, gives the next psychologically ill person the opportunity to make another threat. I read online, the suspect who is in custody may be mentally ill and may be held on a 72 hour hold.
But the terrorist threat, in all intent and purpose, was quashed when he was taken into custody. So why shut down ELAC? Were there more terrorist threats? I’m surprised C.N. didn’t cover this story. Or maybe there wasn’t but the ELAC felt that it would be wise to do so, just in case. And that, is where the issue of fear arise.
According to California Penal code: 422:
422. (a) Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which
will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with
the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or
by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a
threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out,
which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made,
is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to
convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an
immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes
that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own
safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety, shall be punished
by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by
imprisonment in the state prison.
(b) For purposes of this section, “immediate family” means any
spouse, whether by marriage or not, parent, child, any person related
by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other
person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the
prior six months, regularly resided in the household.
(c) “Electronic communication device” includes, but is not limited
to, telephones, cellular telephones, computers, video recorders, fax
machines, or pagers. “Electronic communication” has the same meaning
as the term defined in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 of
the United States Code.
It is a felony and the great work of our first responders arresting the suspect was perfect. But the threat was over. Was it really necessary to shut the school down? Not really. The LASD did a great job on campus. So why worry? Many may say, well, look what happened on 9/11. What did happen on 9/11 was NOT a threat according to California Penal Code 422. No. It was a crime. It was the execution of the threat and not the threat itself. The threat, if you read the papers, watch the 9/11 Commission or seen Fahrenheit 911, was allegedly Osama bin Laden to attack the U.S. using planes. The attack was the end-result.
The definition of terrorism is:
1.the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2.the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization (sic).
3.a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.
So by definition, the suspect was probably charged with making a “terrorist threat” and the threat was over. So again I ask, why was ELAC shut down? Because of the threat of the student commiting a heinous crime on campus? According to C.N., the suspect was taken into custody, so there is no danger or threat.
Living in fear post 9/11 is no way live. How many more terrorist threats will ELAC have and how many more times will the school be shut down because there is a lack of trust in our first responders? Why live in fear when the proverbial all clear signal is sounded? Unless ELAC decides to put their trust in the men and women sworn to protect and serve the ELAC family, I see no clear sign of any hope left because someone with a phobia can’t trust their staff.
Oh and how many known street gang members attend ELAC?
And now a shooting happened at Santa Monica College. Guess what? That was no terrorists threat. It was murder. Maybe ELAC should shut down all together.