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Crime

LAPD: Virginia Tech-Style Shooting Threat at Loyola Marymount University Came From Apartment Complex Near Campus

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 8:40 AM

click to enlarge Is there a potential Seung-Hui Cho at Loyola?
  • Is there a potential Seung-Hui Cho at Loyola?
A shooting threat electronically issued to university officials at Loyola Marymount last week -- warning of a Virginia Tech-style massacre at the seaside Playa Vista campus -- has been traced back to a computer at a nearby apartment building, KNX news radio reports.

"At this point, we did discover that the threat did come from a local apartment near the school," a Pacific Division LAPD detective confirmed to the Weekly this morning.

When campus authorities received the terrorizing email on St. Patrick's Day...

... they immediately sent out warnings to students and extra police officers to patrol the private university grounds, according to the Los Angeles Times, but didn't cancel any classes or activities.

Throughout the ongoing joint investigation between Loyola Marymount police and LAPD detectives, no gun or suspected shooter has been tracked down.

Reporters on KNX this morning said the computer used to send the threat is designated as a public-use machine at the apartment complex, and that campus officials are pretty sure a student was behind it. The threat used the term "P-Safe" instead of Department of Public Safety, an abbreviation perhaps only an insider would know.

From yesterday's Times update:

"Obviously, all threats against student safety are taken very seriously by the LAPD," Bert said. "As our investigation into the source of this threat continues, we will ensure extra patrols are dedicated to the Loyola Marymount campus."

Sources familiar with the threat said the e-mail threatened a "Virginia Tech-style" shooting, referring to the 2007 rampage by Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people in a dormitory and a campus building before killing himself.

In December 2007, a 21-year-old student at Loyola was arrested for posting a similar threat to college gossip site Juicycampus.com (which has since been shut down and converted to a blog). University senior Carlos Huerta allegedly posted an anonymous threat to kill as many students as possible -- then open himself to police fire -- but did so on his personal computer, making things easier for investigators.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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