California man charged with threatening to kill university students
April 20, 2007 - 4:02 am
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 and 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 US$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 United States 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 man who allegedly threatened a school attack in Yuba City, Calif., that would dwarf the Virginia Tech attacks, in which gunman Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 people and himself, turned himself in to authorities late Thursday, said a dispatcher at the Sutter County Sheriff's Department. It ended a manhunt that prompted school districts in two cities to tighten security.
The man told a pastor Wednesday night "he had some sort of explosive device and he was going to make the incident at Virginia Tech look mild by comparison," Sheriff Jim Denney said.
Officials cancelled classes and activities for Friday at school districts in Yuba and neighbouring Sutter counties, as well as at Yuba College. Classes were expected to resume Monday.
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 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.