A 24-year-old man arrested for allegedly threatening violence in local schools through messages posted on Facebook “got taught a tremendous lesson” even though prosecutors have declined to file charges against him because the threats were not directed at any specific location, Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Bill Murphy told a community meeting Monday.
“The public has to absolutely realize that when you send stuff out there on Facebook that’s of a threatening nature—and in this case there were some explosive words used—we’re going to take some action,” Murphy said at the Community Police Advisory Board meeting, held monthly at the Northeast Community Station on San Fernando Road.
‘Better Safe Than Sorry’
Officers at the station “kind of suspected” that the District Attorney’s office might not prosecute Kyle Bangayan, the man they arrested Sunday morning, but “in our job, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Murphy said.
Bangayan, a student at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, was arrested from the East Hollywood home of his parents, where officers found nine firearms.
An anonymous tip from a friend of Bangayan’s alerted Northeast officers and FBI agents to the Pomona student’s alleged Facebook threats, Murphy said.
The captain said that although the weapons found at Bangayan’s parents’ home were licensed, they did not belong to either him or his parents but to relatives in the family.
“We took all the guns away,” Murphy said, adding: “There was too much there not to take action.”
‘Commitment to Schools’
At a news conference Monday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that starting in January, his officers would pay daily visits to all public and private schools in the city in an effort to prevent the kind of mass shootings that left 20 elementary school children and six adults dead in the Connecticut town of Newtown Friday.
“We’re going to make a tremendous commitment to schools,” Murphy said. “I don’t know what that will look like—whether we’ll do it until the community heals and the fear goes down or if we’ll do it forever.”
There are about 60 public and five private schools in the 30-square-mile area under the Northeast Community Police Station’s jurisdiction, Murphy said, adding that “the chief [Beck] had mentioned there are some 600 schools citywide.”
Visiting that many schools “in one day, every day, is going to be a huge challenge,” Murphy said. “But we’re going to do it—all hands will be on deck for that particular assignment.”
In fact, Northeast LAPD patrol officers and detectives managed to visit all the public schools in the area on Friday shortly after news about the Newtown shootings broke, Murphy said.
Suspect Arrested in Fatal 2008 Slaying of Sheriff’s Deputy
Murphy also announced the recent arrest in Mexico of Armando Albarran, a Northeast L.A. resident who is among six alleged members or associates of the Avenues gang charged with the Aug. 2, 2008 murder in Cypress Park of Juan Abel Escalante, an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy.
Escalante, who grew up in Cypress Park, was gunned down outside his parents' home by a carload of alleged Avenues members or associates, Murphy said. Albarran, who was sitting in the back of the car, fled to Mexico, and an LAPD “fugitive team” worked with U.S. Marshalls to track him down.
“It took us four years to find him, we got him extradited and he’s in our custody now,” the captain said.