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University of Maryland student held for alleged massacre threat

March 12, 2012|By Richard Fausset
  • Alexander Song, now in custody, allegedly threatened to go on a shooting rampage at the University of Maryland.
Alexander Song, now in custody, allegedly threatened to go on a shooting… (AFP/University of Maryland…)

A 19-year-old student at the University of Maryland has been taken into custody and hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation after allegedly threatening to go on a shooting rampage on the campus Sunday.

Alexander Song, a student at the university system's flagship campus in College Park, Md., allegedly promised to carry out his plans at 1:30 in the afternoon, according to a statement from the school's public safety department.

"I will be on a shooting rampage tomorrow on campus," he wrote earlier in the weekend, according to the school's statement. "[H]opefully I kill enough people to make it to national news," he also allegedly stated -- as well as "stay away from the Mall tomorrow at 1:30."

Campus police learned about the comments over the weekend, and conducted an investigation that led them to Song, of Fulton, Md. He was unarmed when taken into custody and was transported to a hospital where he was undergoing an psychiatric evaluation.

Police have obtained a warrant charging Song with disturbing the orderly conduct of the school, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to six months in jail. The administration has taken steps to suspend Song's enrollment at the school. For now, he is no longer permitted on campus.

"I thank our troops for preventing these threats from being carried out," said David B. Mitchell, the campus police chief.

Song posted the comments on the websites reddit.com and omegle.com, according to Maj. Chris Jagoe of the university's public safety department.

The Diamondback, the student paper at the 37,000-student campus, reported that Song was arrested on campus. The paper also spoke to Song's roommate, Brian Barnett, who said he didn't know Song had been making threats.

"I know he's been stressed recently, but that's all I know," Barnett told the paper. "I assumed it was schoolwork."

Many campuses have worked to establish protocols for preventing and responding to potential campus massacres after Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 25 others on that campus in April 2007.

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