IRVINE — University police said they interviewed a 19-year-old former UC Irvine student this weekend suspected of delivering an anonymous computer message that threatened death to Asians on the predominantly Asian American campus.
The unidentified suspect voluntarily talked with campus authorities Saturday morning after police contacted the suspect's friends and relatives, according to Dennis Powers, assistant chief of the UCI police. The suspect's statement will be included in the department's reports of its investigation and submitted to the Orange County district attorney's office within two days, Powers said.
Because of free-speech protections and the largely unregulated use of the Internet, police and school officials are uncertain what school policies or laws may have been violated. However, police say the suspect may have broken one of three statutes: making annoying telephone calls, issuing a terrorist threat or violating civil rights.
The former student is suspected of sending out a hate-filled e-mail message to about 60 students and staff on Sept. 20. Most of them are Asian Americans, including the suspect's former roommate, according to police.
The message, which contained less than a dozen sentences and was signed "Asian-Hater," blamed Asians for campus crime and for what he called the school's unpopularity. It ended with: "I personally will make it my life carreer [sic] to find and kill every one of you personally."
The message has angered students and faculty. Last year, 47% of UCI's approximately 16,700 students were Asian American, the largest percentage of any UC school.