LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles County prosecutors have declined to file charges against a Pomona man accused of making violent threats against local schools on Facebook.
Kyle Bangayan, 24, was arrested at 11 a.m. Sunday at his parents’ Hollywood apartment, police said.
“Also found and seized at the residence where Bangayan was arrested were nine firearms, including rifles, a shotgun, handguns and ammunition,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.
The suspect’s apartment in Pomona, where he attends college, was also searched.
The Facebook threat did not target specific schools, but did reference the deadly shooting at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school Friday. Adam Lanza, 20, is believed to have fatally shot 20 children and six adults before killing himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza’s mother was also found dead at her nearby home.
All Los Angeles Unified School District students are currently on winter break through January and were not in danger when Bangayan’s threat was made.
He was released shortly before 9 p.m. Monday from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Downtown L.A. His bail had been set at $500,000.
Neighbors said the alleged threats were completely out-of-character for Bangayan.
“That’s totally weird and absurd to me. He’s been a head-of-the-class student since he was tiny. He’s been an honors student at some of the better schools in L.A. County and a totally good kid,” a neighbor, Tom, said of Bangayan. “He was close to what you would call ‘the perfect kid.'”
Tom spoke highly of Bangayan and his parents, who manage the apartment complex where they live. He said Bangayan’s father, Ed, owned the guns that were seized and is a gun collector.
“He’s a very fine guy. He’s the kind of person you’d want to have owning guns in your neighborhood because he’d defend people against criminals,” the neighbor said.
Neighbor Valerie Garcia spoke with the suspect’s father after the arrest.
“He was in shock, but I can just say that he was worried because he was shocked, because how could he be doing these stupid mistakes, because he’s never been in trouble before in his life,” Garcia said.
Bangayan’s mother told CBS2/KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez that the family is in shock and they want him to apologize for whatever he’s done. She said he often jokes around but that, this time, he went too far.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck spoke about the arrest earlier Monday.
“He was clear in his statements and his ability matched those statements. This was not a person that was unarmed. This was not a person who did not have a clear and present ability to make good on his threats,” he said.
Nonetheless, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office rejected the case against Bangayan.
Beck spoke out about the tragedy in Newtown recently and announced a new plan to protect both public and private schools throughout the city.
He plans for every school in the city to have at least one random visit from an officer every day.
“I’m gonna use all 10,000 Los Angeles police officers. We won’t be there all the time, but nobody will ever know when we will be there,” Beck said. “I just don’t want anybody to think they can go into a school in Los Angeles and be immune from the police.”
“We have very specific and extensive measures of security at our schools, but we also want a very public presence of our community police just to give parents every possible reassurance around safety,” LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said.
Beck hopes to have the plan in place when students return from winter break.
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