12,000-student school district was locked down Thursday as authorities searched for a man they say threatened to make the Virginia Tech-style massacre look “mild by comparison.”
Schools in Yuba City and neighboring Marysville in Northern California tightened security while police searched for Jeffery Thomas Carney, 28. Carney had told a pastor in Yuba City on Wednesday night that he planned a mass killing, authorities said.
“He had some sort of explosive device and he was going to make the incident at Virginia Tech look mild by comparison,'' Sutter County Sheriff Jim Denney said. "Our main emphasis, and I can't stress this enough, is to find this suspect".
Carney told the First United Methodist Church pastor and some family members that he had an automatic weapon and poison, and hoped to be killed by police as he carried out an assault, authorities said. He made no specific threat against any particular location, the department said.
Authorities said Carney is homeless but previously lived in Yuba City, about 35 miles north of Sacramento. He was arrested in February and again April 4 on domestic violence allegations, Denney said.
School officials said in a post on the district's Web site that schools were being locked down. The move affected 17 schools and 12,000 students. Schools in the neighboring Marysville district were locked down as a precaution. Yuba Community College remained open, but on heightened security.
The threat followed a week of lock-downs and evacuations at schools around the country in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting massacre, the AP reports.
In Kalamazoo, Mich., a threat posted on an online blog worried Kalamazoo Valley Community College officials enough Thursday that they shut down the campus for the rest of the week, authorities said.
Shortly before noon Thursday, police took a male suspect into custody who they believe is responsible for Internet posting, Kalamazoo County sheriff's Lt. Terry VanStreain said.
He said the first message appeared at 5:02 p.m. Wednesday and read: “My friends and I were sitting around yesterday discussing how we don't have any killers in our generation, then I heard about this (expletive). Thank you, God, for answering my prayers.''
A second message, posted before dawn Thursday, read: “Our government kills that many people every day. ... The only reason you give a damn is because it's on CNN.”
The Sutter County Sheriff's Department described Carney, 28, as a transient and reportedly a methamphetamine abuser possibly under the influence and exhibiting symptoms of methamphetamine psychosis.
It said Carney has a criminal record including burglary and conspiracy, and was out on bail following a charge of domestic violence against his parents.
His father, reached by telephone, declined to comment.
Carney now faces new state charges of making a terrorist threat, Sutter County Sheriff Jim Denny told reporters.
Virginia Tech student Cho Seung-Hui shot and killed 32 people and himself on the Blacksburg, Virginia, campus on Monday in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history. The murders have prompted a series of scares at universities and schools across the United States in recent days, Reuters reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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