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2 Men Held in Alleged Plot to Blow Up Burbank High

April 24, 2001|ANDREW BLANKSTEIN and ZANTO PEABODY | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

BURBANK — Acting on a parent's tip, Burbank police arrested two 18-year-old men--one of them a student--and booked them on suspicion of conspiracy to blow up Burbank High School, police and school officials said Monday.

Patrick Longmire, 18, a junior at the high school, and Christopher Mannino, 18, of Van Nuys, told officers that they planned to detonate a bomb at the campus, Burbank Sgt. Bill Taylor said. Both are being held in lieu of $1-million bail, Taylor said.

Burbank school officials said they are beefing up security on the campus and conducting random metal detector searches. They added that violence at the school is rare.

Police said Longmire told them that classmates picked on him. Revenge for bullying has been cited as the motive in recent shootings at other schools. Getting revenge is "a tragic and dangerous trend," Burbank Schools Supt. David Aponik said. "We need to be prepared to stop it."

The disclosure of the alleged bomb plot follows the arrests earlier this month of two students from John Burroughs High School in Burbank in connection with separate threats to classmates, Police Lt. Kevin Krafft said. One arrest stemmed from rumors on the campus and the other from an Internet posting, Krafft said.

Longmire and Mannino were arrested early Saturday after a parent, whose child was a friend of Longmire's, told police she had learned about plans to place a bomb inside the school. She contacted Los Angeles police, who contacted Burbank officers.

Police said no explosives were found. The two were arrested based on statements they gave to officers and others, Taylor said. "He was feeling harassed and made fun of," Taylor said of Longmire. "This apparently was the way he was going to address it."

The two had known each other about four months and allegedly plotted the attack about a month ago, the sergeant said.

Taylor said the two approached a third friend to make them a bomb, but the friend refused.

"We had enough to arrest them on what they originally told authorities," Taylor said. "But upon further investigation, we found they went so far as to ask a friend to make a bomb."

Police said the high bail reflected the lengths the suspects went to in attempting to carry out the plot.

Jack Longmire, who identified himself as the suspect's grandfather, said the teenager had been teased by other students, including for medical problems that left him with a limp. "Because of his medical condition, he's susceptible to bad influences," he said.

The suspect's grandmother, Mary Longmire, added: "We're very thankful to the Los Angeles Police Department and the Burbank police. I'm just glad nobody was hurt."

*

Times staff writer David Pierson contributed to this story.

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