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California student arrest may have averted disaster

By Reuters
Saturday, January 15, 2011 20:19 EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Police at a Los Angeles university campus may have prevented a tragedy when they detained a deranged student later found to have a shotgun and bomb-making ingredients in his dorm room, the school’s police chief said on Saturday.

California State University, Northridge, police chief Anne Glavin spoke to Reuters a day after a judge increased bail to $1 million for the student arrested in the case, David Everson, 22. Bail had previously been set at $150,000.

“Between having a shotgun and explosive material, one has to assume this could have been, at minimum, a critical incident and at worst a tragic incident,” Glavin said.

Everson’s arrest came days before an Arizona college dropout opened fire at an event held by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a Tucson shopping center, gravely wounding her and killing six other victims.

Officials with Pima Community College in Tucson say the alleged gunman, Jared Loughner, withdrew from their school last fall, after he was confronted about a disturbing video he posted online. Loughner had run-ins with campus police, but he never committed violence on campus, the school said.

In the case of Everson, police from California State University, Northridge, detained him on January 3, after a counselor alerted officers that the student could be a danger.

“He made direct threats to commit bodily harm or kill seven people,” Glavin said. “They were all named.”

Everson was immediately sent to a mental health facility, and he was later arrested upon his release from the hospital and sent to a jail for inmates with psychological problems, Glavin said.

On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing ingredients to make a bomb and having a firearm on campus.

Officers found the shotgun, along with ammunition, in Everson’s room the same day they detained him at the counseling session, Glavin said. They went back with a search warrant the next day and found the bomb-making ingredients.

The police chief would not say what those ingredients were, but she said they would make a working bomb.

Most of the seven individuals Everson threatened to harm were students, but some were university staff members. All seven were notified of the threat and safety plans were put in place for them, Glavin said.

“The good news about this case is everything went right along the way,” Glavin said.

Everson is due back in court on January 28.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Greg McCune)


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