Police detained a man Monday morning in connection with a text message that prompted Cypress College officials to cancel classes for fear of violence on campus, authorities said.
Authorities are evaluating the 24-year-old man from Pico Rivera for mental health issues, said Whittier Police Officer John Scoggins. He was still being detained at a facility for mental health evaluation as of 6:55 a.m. Tuesday morning but had not been arrested or charged, Scoggins said.
The man, whom police are not identifying, sent a text to his family in Whittier that contained a “nonspecific threat that a person was potentially suicidal and was considering shooting a school,” police said.
The man did not identify a targeted school in the text, but Cypress College is the last one he attended, Scoggins said.
The man taken into custody “was subject to student discipline and subsequently arrested in 2016 for felony vandalism on campus. He has also been on campus three times over the last two weeks displaying erratic behavior,” according to a statement from Cypress College.
On Sunday night, school officials asked students and faculty to stay away from the community college campus until further notice, said spokesman Marc Posner. Just before 10 a.m., the school announced that Monday afternoon classes would proceed as scheduled.
“We had a threat that was not specific to our campus, but it was highly concerning to us and so we wanted to ensure that our students and employees would be safe,” Posner said. “The person we are concerned about represented a credible threat to us and you know we have 15,000 students and another 1,000-plus employees for whom we feel responsible.”
The person who made the threat was not a current student, he said.
Authorities made the college aware of the threat Sunday night, and officials canceled morning classes shortly thereafter, Posner said.
“There should be no concern with regards to Cypress College or any other school’s safety pertaining to this specific person’s threat,” said Whittier Police Lt. Jay Tatman.
There are no guns registered to the man in custody, and police do not believe he had access to firearms illegally, Scoggins said.