A 19-year-old Santa Monica College student who allegedly threatened to “shoot up” a local school Thursday turned himself in to psychological services, where police arrested him, authorities said.
The student, who authorities did not immediately identify, was arrested about 9:30 a.m. Thursday after police used his phone number to confirm that he was the person who called 911 hours earlier, said Santa Monica College Police Chief Albert Vasquez.
Police said the man was near East Los Angeles College when he called the California Highway Patrol sometime before 8 a.m. saying he had a gun and was going to shoot up a school.
Authorities immediately notified the local sheriff’s station and city police, who shut down nearly a dozen schools in the area.
The man also said he was going to shoot himself on campus.
The threats caused widespread chaos at numerous schools in Santa Monica and Monterey Park.
Across the street from East L.A. College, Kaz Tsujimoto and his wife, Amber, were walking their twin 4-year old sons, tightly holding hands. They had just left preschool at nearby Robert Hill Lane Elementary School.
Kaz Tsujimoto had rushed from work in Long Beach to find his kids. His wife came from her job in Downey.
The couple said they were terrified when they heard news of the threat. They called the preschool and were told that all the children were inside and that the school was locked down.
Kaz thought immediately of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., and feared the worst.
"In light of everything going on, it's corny, but you never think it'd happen so close to you," he said. "It's scary. It really wakes you up."
When they finally were able to see their sons, the boys were surprised to see both parents picking them up.
"Mommy, are you here because the police are here?" one son asked her.
By 10:15 a.m., schools in Santa Monica and Monterey Park were returning to normal.