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Tip From Bristol Leads To Arrest Of California Man

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(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News)

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By GREG RISLING,  Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A California man was being held on $2 million
bail Tuesday after he wrote a comment on ESPN’s website that he was
watching kids and wouldn’t mind killing them, authorities said.

The man, who is in his early 20s, remains in custody after he
was arrested Monday for investigation of making terrorist threats.

His name was not immediately released as investigators are trying
to determine if there are any additional suspects. Several guns
were found at the man’s home.

The threatening posts were made in a reader response section to
an online ESPN story on Thursday about new Nike sneakers named
after LeBron James that cost $270 a pair, ESPN spokesman Mike
Soltys said Tuesday. Some of the nearly 3,000 reader comments on
the story talked about children possibly getting killed over the
sneakers because of how expensive they are.

“What he was posting had nothing to do with sports,” Soltys
said. “We closely monitor the message boards and anytime we get a
threat, we’re alerting law enforcement officials.”

An employee at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., notified
local police the same day and they were able to link the posting to
the man’s home in Santa Clarita in northern Los Angeles County.

Sheriff’s investigators said they were contacted Sunday and began
surveillance on the man’s home until a search warrant was obtained.

The man said in the online post that the shooting would be like
the one in Auora, Colo., where 12 people were killed and 58 were
injured in July, authorities said.

The man lives with his parents on a street that overlooks an
elementary school and a middle school, said Los Angeles County
sheriff’s Lt. Steve Low. Both schools were open Tuesday, although
at least three children didn’t attend class after they were
notified by the school about the arrest, said Dianne Saunders,
principal of Santa Clarita Elementary School.

“As always, safety is our first priority and we are working
closely with police to ensure our kids remain safe,” Saunders
said. “We are thankful that police departments are working
together and without the information from Bristol, maybe this
wouldn’t have been able to be stopped.”

Authorities didn’t disclose how serious the threat was, but they
were looking to see if the man had made similar posts on the
Internet.

“We take all these kinds of threats serious, especially with
the climate of other shootings around the nation over the past
year,” Low said.

Sheriff’s investigators are working with Bristol police and Yale
University police but do not say what connections the suspect may
have with either place. Messages left for a Yale representative was
not immediately returned.
___
Associated Press writers David Collins and Michael Melia in
Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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