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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Police Arrest Teen Over Alleged Plan to Attack School

March 17, 2001|DAVID KELLY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

OXNARD — A 15-year-old Rio Mesa High School student was arrested Friday after sending classmates an e-mail detailing plans to shoot up the school and kill a teacher, authorities said.

He is the second person arrested in the last two weeks for allegedly making threats against the high school. Countywide, three students have been taken into custody this month for threatening schools, authorities said.

Ventura County sheriff's deputies arrested the teenager at 7:45 a.m. Friday before he entered the school building. He was not armed, authorities said.

The message went to students he knew and to some he didn't know, authorities said.

"His e-mail was very graphic, and there were specific acts of violence outlined," said Sheriff's Det. Steve Mayorga. "He said a shotgun would be used and that he would wear a bulletproof vest to protect against police bullets. It was about five or six paragraphs."

The note singled out one teacher by name for death. Some of the students and an administrator contacted police.

Mayorga said the recent upsurge in threats could be tied to the school shooting in Santee earlier this month, in which two students were killed and 13 injured.

He said the 15-year-old suspect seemed remorseful when arrested on suspicion of making terrorist threats. The student is being held at the Clifton Tatum juvenile facility in Ventura, Mayorga said.

Two weeks ago, sheriff's deputies arrested 20-year-old Henry Carnell of Oxnard after he allegedly threatened to kill a girl he was messaging on the Internet, along with other students at Rio Mesa High School. On Tuesday, hundreds of Rio Mesa students skipped classes after rumors spread of an impending attack. School officials said they received no threat but 300 students stayed home.

Earlier this month, a 14-year-old Camarillo High School freshman was arrested for allegedly sending threatening e-mails to two teachers. On Thursday, a 13-year-old Thousand Oaks middle school student was taken into custody for allegedly threatening to kill and rape classmates. He later told police it was a "bad joke."

But authorities are concerned.

"We take any violent threats or acts toward schools extremely seriously," Mayorga said. "It's kind of disturbing. You are talking about children here."

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