SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A UC Irvine professor on Tuesday faced charges of setting several fires after police discovered emails in which he allegedly detailed plans to kill students and administrators at an Irvine high school that his son attended before taking his own life.
Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, of Irvine, was in a Santa Ana courtroom on two counts each of arson of another’s property and arson of a structure and one count each of arson of an inhabited residence and attempted arson — all felonies — and a misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing an officer, according to Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz.
The prosecutor said he plans to ask that Reinscheid be held without bail when the defendant appears for arraignment because investigators uncovered emails on the professor’s cell phone that he sent to his wife in April, detailing his alleged plans to burn down University High School, commit sexual assaults, buy guns and kill school officials and students before killing himself.
Reinscheid’s 14-year-old son, who was a student at the high school, committed suicide in Mason Park Preserve in Irvine after he was disciplined at school in March, Katz said.
The professor is accused of setting five fires and attempting to set another blaze between July 4 and July 24, Katz said. Three of the alleged arsons were on the University High School campus, one was at Mason Park Preserve and another at a school administrator’s home, the prosecutor alleged.
Reinscheid was arrested about 12:40 a.m. on July 24 in Mason Park Preserve. Irvine officers, who had bumped up patrols of the park because of recent arsons, came upon Reinscheid as he was allegedly trying to set a blaze
with newspaper and lighter fluid, Katz said, adding that the defendant resisted arrest.
Reinscheid posted $50,000 bail the same day.
Irvine police found the allegedly threatening emails on Reinscheid’s phone on Friday, Katz said, and. the professor was re-arrested that evening.
Reinscheid is an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences and has taught at the university for about 12 years, according to UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon, who said university officials could not comment further.
Reinscheid could face up to 12 years and eight months in prison if convicted at trial, according to Katz.
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