Suspected gunman identified
The student suspected of threatening to shoot at Santa Monica College has been identified as Neiman Jerome Smith, the Los Angeles Police Department Media Relations Unit stated.
Smith is being charged with making felony criminal threats. Authorities have placed a $50,000 bail over his head.
According to the California Penal Code 422, a "criminal threat," formerly known as a terrorist threat, is a threat of "death or great bodily injury to another person." The guilty party can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, and spend up to four years in state prison.
The 19-year-old phoned at 8 a.m. on May 16 threatening to "shoot up the school," according to a press release from the Santa Monica Police Department. The suspect made references to other schools in the city, prompting the lockdown and evacuation of several institutions that morning.
Smith turned himself over to police via Psychological Services. He was unarmed.
"I think what it does for the whole community is, it raises our awareness that we really should all know what we need to be doing during those situations," said Albert Vasquez, chief of the Santa Monica College Police Department.
While Pearl Street was closed for the duration of the threat, students continued to walk into campus from Pico Boulevard. Vasquez said that the Big Blue Bus was eventually contacted about the situation and henceforth stopped letting people off at the front of the school.
Vasquez said the SMCPD is looking to revamp the emergency call stations located throughout campus so that they can hold speakers that would alert students to any threat.
Vasquez said President and Superintendent Chui L. Tsang has assembled a "small task force" to work on these issues.
The LAPD is leading the investigation.