Soka University grad convicted of threatening violence in YouTube videos: ‘Am I gonna have to go on a killing spree?’
In the video, David Kenneth Smith is in a bathtub, shirtless, a black semiautomatic handgun resting on his chest. He gripes about his alma mater, Soka University, in a video he titled “Stories From College.”
On Halloween of last year, he began an email exchange with a university staffer he worked for before he graduated in 2008. In one email, he included a link to the 20-minute YouTube tirade.
“I may be coming for a campus visit soon,” he wrote below it.
This week, Smith — who uses the moniker “King David” online — was convicted of making criminal threats after a two-day trial in Orange County. A jury deliberated four hours before returning the verdict Thursday against the 40-year-old Los Angeles resident, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
After the staffer reported the disturbing exchange, investigators reviewed 31 videos Smith recorded and posted to his YouTube channel.
In one video he called “Killing Spree,” he begins: “Every day I wake up the same way: Am I gonna have to go on a killing spree with you [expletive] people? Man, I don’t know.”
In another, “Who to Kill,” he contemplates carrying out an attack, with a weapon resting on the nape of his neck.
“What if you get that one student, who is there on some sort of scholarship, who is gonna cure cancer? Well, geez, you know, I don’t know about that,” he says. “What about cops? Let’s shoot cops.… Then what if you shoot the one cop who actually was a good cop?”
When Smith was arrested in November, investigators found nine loaded firearms in his possession. He faces up to three years in state prison when he sentenced in June.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.