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Sylmar man arrested after allegedly making false threats of violence against the L.A. County Fair

Los Angeles County Fair
The Los Angeles County Fair is a signature event at the L.A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Police arrested a Sylmar man after he allegedly made false threats about a possible active shooter event at the Los Angeles County Fair, authorities said.

Erik Villasenor, who is in his 20s, was arrested late Friday on suspicion of emailing the threat to the fair association, according to Police Lt. Marcus Perez. Pomona police learned about the threat earlier that day, he said.

“What I do know is that he was advising of an active shooter event that was to occur in the future at the L.A. County Fair,” Perez said.

When police responded to his home, Villasenor admitted to the hoax, police said.

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Villasenor was placed under arrest on suspicion of making false threats and booked at the Pomona City Jail.

In the wake of recent mass shootings around the country, the L.A. County Fair’s operators have beefed up security.

“In light of the environment, we’ve made significant investment to make sure our guests and employees are safe,” said Miguel Santana, chief executive of Fairplex, a private nonprofit that operates the fair, this year from Aug. 30-Sept. 22, at its 487-acre facility in Pomona. “We always take security seriously, but we’ve made a deliberate effort to strengthen our security system.”

Fairplex has spent $200,000 to build a command center in the fairgrounds where police, fire officials and other emergency staff can coordinate a response to an emergency, Santana said. Extra video cameras have been added to monitor the perimeter, as well as metal detectors and a badge-scanning system to screen fair employees and contractors before they enter the grounds.

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Times staff writer Hugo Martin contributed to this report.


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