Feds say Oklahoma man threatened repeatedly to bomb, shoot students at L.A. schools
An Oklahoma man who grew up in Los Angeles and allegedly harbored a grudge against certain schools there was arrested Wednesday and accused of threatening to shoot elementary school students and making several bomb threats, federal prosecutors said.
On Feb. 28, starting at 8:46 a.m., Marcus James Buchanan of Blackwell, Okla., called two L.A. elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school, claiming he had placed bombs throughout the campuses and would shoot students as they left for the day, according to a 13-page affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Buchanan, 44, first called Overland Elementary School for Advanced Studies, Vine Street Elementary School and Bancroft Middle School, and shortly before 9:30 a.m. he called Fairfax High School, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Buchanan told a school employee: “I’m in a car parked on Genesee Street with a bomb. There’s going to be a lot of people dead.”
By 9:30 a.m., Buchanan called Joseph Le Conte Middle School and said he had placed a nitrate bomb in the building.
After each call, officials locked down their schools and police searched the campuses for explosives or unusual items, but none were found, prosecutors said.
Investigators said the same number called the same five schools on April 28 and 29. On the call to Vine Street Elementary, according to the affidavit, Buchanan said: “There is a bomb at your school and we will shoot the kids when they get out of the school. That is what you get for not accepting me in ’86.”
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According to the affidavit, the school employee asked who was calling, and Buchanan said, “If you try to find out I will shoot you.”
He called Vine Street Elementary the next day and said there was a bomb on campus similar to “the one Congress is going to get,” prosecutors said. After each threat, the campuses were again locked down and police searches found nothing.
Investigators traced the phone number behind the calls to an address Buchanan shares with his girlfriend, prosecutors said. During an interview with FBI investigators, the woman — identified only as M.C. in court documents — said she and Buchanan had been in a relationship for two years but knew each other for 20 years, dating to her time attending high school in Hollywood. The phone number used in the threatening calls is under her name, prosecutors said.
Buchanan is a long-haul trucker, and during his time on the road, according to the affidavit, he would call M.C. on one phone and they would leave the call running for hours to feel connected. During one call, Buchanan made a bomb threat on another phone, and M.C. believed he made most of those threats while driving his truck, prosecutors said.
M.C. told Buchanan to stop, but she said he did not believe what he was doing was wrong, according to prosecutors. When she asked him for a reason behind the threats, Buchanan said that at least some of the schools did not accept him for academic or other reasons when he was living in L.A.
On May 4, FBI agents went back to Buchanan’s home, but he declined to speak with agents, according to the affidavit.
Buchanan was scheduled to make his first appearance in a Wichita, Kan., courtroom on Wednesday. He is charged with one count of making a threat through interstate commerce to damage or destroy buildings by fire or explosives.
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