West Hollywood man sentenced to three years in prison for threatening ‘killing spree’ at Soka University
A West Hollywood man was sentenced to three years in state prison Friday after threatening in an email sent to an Aliso Viejo college in 2017 to go on a “killing spree,” prosecutors said.
David Kenneth Smith, 40, was convicted of making felony criminal threats in April, months after Orange County sheriff’s deputies found several loaded rifles and shotguns inside his home.
Police were contacted by staff members at Soka University in Aliso Viejo in November, after Smith, a former student, sent a professor “a link to a YouTube video that showed him sitting with a semiautomatic pistol on his chest talking about the university,” authorities said.
Smith’s YouTube channel contained several bizarre and disconcerting videos showing him praising the actions of other mass shooters. In one clip, titled “What Good Does Killing Ever Do?,” Smith debated engaging in suicide or mass murder.
“What should I do? Should I commit suicide and just die off in a corner where all of you folks out there are just … well, hey, I guess that problem took care of itself now, didn’t it? We’ll never have to ever have any reckoning at all for what we did to him and so many other people,” Smith says in the video, smiling nearly the entire time. “I’d rather go on a killing spree.”
In the roughly 20-minute video that prompted police to investigate, Smith can be seen sitting shirtless in a bathtub holding a handgun near his chest.
“I may be coming for a campus visit soon,” he wrote below a link to the video in an e-mail sent to the Soka University employee.
Sheriff’s investigators recovered four revolvers, three shotguns and two rifles from Smith’s home, all of which were loaded, prosecutors said.
Smith was apparently angered by a punishment he received at the university for marijuana use in 2008, authorities have said.
Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for crime and police news in California.
Start your day right
Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.