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Teen Charged With Making Terrorist Threat at School

Bullying: Young man at facility for emotionally troubled youth allegedly tells a fellow student he plans to return the next day with a gun and shoot him.

March 24, 2001|ROBERTO J. MANZANO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VALLEY GLEN — An 18-year-old student was charged Friday with making a terrorist threat after he allegedly threatened to shoot another student, officials said.

Patrick Sweetin was also charged with battery for allegedly beating the student, a 19-year-old from Sherman Oaks, and with violating probation, said Deputy City Atty. Debra Siedorf. He was on probation for a graffiti vandalism conviction last January, she said.

Sweetin, who lives in North Hollywood, pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges during an arraignment Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Van Nuys, officials said.

Sweetin's case marks the latest in a rash of school shootings and threats by students to shoot classmates since the March 5 deadly rampage at Santana High School in San Diego County, in which two were killed and 13 wounded. Police arrested a 15-year-old freshman in the San Diego incident.

Since then, at least 13 California students have been arrested and several others suspended for allegedly making threats against students or taking real or fake weapons to school.

In an unrelated case, a 15-year-old Van Nuys boy was released from Sylmar Juvenile Hall and put on house arrest Friday, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

Investigators arrested the boy March 14 after he had allegedly posted threats in an Internet chat room that he would kill at least 75 classmates at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, Los Angeles police said.

The boy, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, must wear an electronic monitoring device. He is scheduled to return to court April 2.

In the other case, Sweetin allegedly attacked a fellow student near the New School for Child Development at 13130 Burbank Blvd. on Wednesday about 1:30 p.m., Siedorf said. Both teenagers attend the New School, a private facility that teaches students who are emotionally troubled, Los Angeles Unified School District spokesman Ed Pardo said.

The older teen was walking home when Sweetin allegedly demanded his portable cassette player.

When he refused, Sweetin allegedly struck him several times and threatened to bring a gun to school the next day and shoot him if he told anyone about the attack, Siedorf said.

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The victim told a teacher about the threat and police arrested Sweetin at his home on Wednesday, Siedorf said. Investigators did not find a gun there, she said.

Sweetin is being held at Los Angeles County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail and is scheduled to go on trial April 13. If he is convicted on all charges, he faces up to 2 1/2 years in jail, Siedorf said.

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