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UPDATE: DA Decides Not to Charge Man Suspected of School Threats

The 24-year-old man was arrested at his parents' East Hollywood home on Sunday.

UPDATE 6:05 p.m.: Prosecutors today declined to file charges against a Pomona man who was arrested at his parents' residence on suspicion of making “violent threats against local schools.''

Kyle Bangayan, 24, was arrested around 11:15 a.m. Sunday after Los Angeles police officers and FBI agents went to his parents' home in the 1200 block of North New Hampshire Avenue in East Hollywood, according to Richard French of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Bangayan was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats, French said.

``The threats, which did not target specific schools but did reference the Connecticut school shooting from last Friday, were posted on the social networking site Facebook,'' French said.

``Also found and seized at the residence where Bangayan was arrested were nine firearms, including rifles, a shotgun, handguns, and ammunition,'' he said. ``A search of the suspect's Pomona residence didn't yield any weapons or related evidence.''

The threats involved ``multiple elementary schools,'' said LAPD Officer Venus Hall, a department spokeswoman.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, however, determined that Bangayan had not made any specific threats in his Facebook posting, which he apparently described as a joke.

``There is no reference to threatening actions toward any specific victim or school, which is required'' to move ahead with a prosecution, according to a charge-evaluation worksheet.

On Facebook, Bangayan warned that if people didn't stop posting about the shootings in Connecticut, he would do the same thing, according to an Internal report by Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney John Gilligan.

``He referenced that thousands of kids die in Third World countries every day'' and said Americans need to get over the shootings, according to Gilligan.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters the department learned about Bangayan's Facebook posting from a caller to the department's tip line. He said he did not know if Bangayan had been investigated before or whether he has a criminal history.

Beck contended that the post included ``very specific threats and clear and present ability to carry out those threats.''

He declined to say whether the guns seized were legally owned.

* * * * *

The following report was posted Monday afternoon before prosecutors made their announcement:

The man who allegedly posted a threat on Facebook to commit violent acts at a Los Angeles elementary school presented a "clear and present ability to act on those threats," police Chief Charlie Beck said on Monday afternoon.

Beck made his statements during a press conference at LAPD's Downtown headquarters, following reports that 24-year-old Kyle Bangayan of Pomona was arrested at his parents' East Hollywood home in the 1200 block of North New Hampshire Ave. at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.

Bangayan allegedly threatened on Facebook to commit violent acts at a local elementary school that were similar to those of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.

Police reported finding nine firearms, including rifles, a shotgun, handguns and ammunition at the East Hollywood home.

Beck declined to comment on whether the guns were obtained legally.

"[Bangayan] was clear in his statements, and his ability matched those statements," Beck said. "He was not a person that was unarmed. He was not a person who lacked a clear and present ability to make good on this threats. That's what we have to deal with. We're not in the hope-for-the-best business."

Bangayan did not state in his Facebook threat which school he planned to target, police said.

Asked by a reporter what prompted officers to investigate Bangayan, given the high number of ultimately empty claims made on social media websites, Beck said it was the specificity of his claim.

"It was the very specific threats, and a clear and present ability to act on those threats [that prompted action]," Beck said.

LAPD's Northeast Division was made aware of Bangayan's Facebook comments through an anonymous tip, Beck said.

Bangayan was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats and booked into LAPD’s downtown jail. His bail was set at $500,000.

LAPD's Major Crimes Division is investigating the case.

Beck said that, given the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, the LAPD was charged with preventing acts of school violence from becoming the norm.

"Once a barrier is broken, it's hard to resurrect," Beck said. "Not so long ago, workplace violence was unknown. Now, while its certainly rare, it's not unique. This is not tolerated and we will do whatever is in our power to stop it."

JMarsh December 18, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I hope that they at least kept the guns! Not that it would be that hard for him to get more guns. I feel that making a threat on facebook should be taken as seriously as making a bomb threat "joke" while boarding a plane. This happened on a flight I was on. We all had to exit the plane and it was searched from top to bottom. All luggage was taken off and searched. It took hours. They arrested the guy. If they hadn't some of my fellow passengers would have beaten him up while the rest of us cheered!
Christopher Thom December 18, 2012 at 08:10 PM
It just sounds like dude made a horrible tasteless joke but there was no specific threat made. The LAPD is notorious for arresting first and then exaggerating the circumstances to justify their action. It sounds like LAPD is new to the Internet. People post rude extreme coments online all the time. I don't agree with what the guy posted on FB but we can't start going all Patriot Act on people and ignore constitutional rights.
nonoise December 19, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Christopher, great post. You see the real picture. Police would not have released the guy if there was any real threat.
Michele December 19, 2012 at 08:12 AM
So did they give him back his 9 guns? Am I supposed to be OK sending my kid to school knowing that threats are not being taken seriously? Who has 9 guns?
John hacker December 21, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I say we arrest anyone that has ever driven past a school. No wait, everyone that has ever gone to a school. Lets just arrest everyone everywhere. They are all a potential threat against our children. All humans need to be arrested. Now. We also need to remove all threats. Let arrest all germs and bacteria. Lets ban bicycles and cars. In fact we need to ban life, because being alive means you might die. Oh yea, while we are at it, lets vote to support Israel who slaughters children on a regular basis. I really do get a kick out of you stupid people.

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