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Kent State student accused of tweeting plan to 'shoot up' campus

July 30, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • The student center at Kent State University in Ohio is shown. Police arrested William Koberna, 19, at his parents' home after he allegedly tweeted about plans to "shoot up" the campus.
The student center at Kent State University in Ohio is shown. Police arrested… (Pacificboyksu / Wikimedia…)

A Kent State University student has been arrested after he allegedly tweeted about plans to "shoot up" the campus.

William Koberna, 19, of Brunswick, Ohio, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge of inducing panic and a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing, university spokesman Eric Mansfield told the Los Angeles Times.

The alleged threat comes as the nation is already on edge in the wake of the July 20 shooting in which a gunman opened fire during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 and injuring 58. Moreover, Kent State is a campus with a unique history: Four students were killed and nine others injured on May 4, 1970, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students and others protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.

Koberna's Twitter account has since been disabled. But Mansfield told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that his tweet included profanities, made reference to the university president, and concluded by saying "I'm shooting up your school."

"You can imagine that got everyone's attention really fast," Mansfield said. He said that there was no indication that Koberna had any access to weapons, or even an obvious motive. But authorities said they were not taking any chances.

"We're not playing," Mansfield said. "Threats of violence are going to be taken very seriously."

Police arrested Koberna at his parents' home late Sunday afternoon, and took him into custody without incident, according to WEWS-TV.

Koberna, a sophomore, also faces university hearings that can result in his suspension or dismissal.

"Any threat to our campus community is taken seriously and immediately investigated," Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton said in a statement. "Our students, employees, and all those who come to campus should know that their safety is our top priority."

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Join Rene Lynch on Google+ and Twitter. Email: rene.lynch@latimes.com

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