Man Arrested for Sending Threatening Videos to Soka University Professor
The suspect has been charged with one felony count of making criminal threats after authorities say multiple videos referenced “killing sprees”.
A former student at Soka University has been arrested after sending a staff member YouTube videos of him threatening a “killing spree”.
David Kenneth Smith, 40, was arrested on November 2 after university officials reported a threatening email string to authorities. Smith was charged on Monday with one felony count of making criminal threats. He is being held on $1 million bail and has pleaded not guilty.
Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center worked on the case, according to ABC 7.
“There were multiple videos of him talking about killing sprees, and in several videos, he’s carrying a firearm,” says Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jaimee Blashaw. “The threat was credible enough.”
The exchange between Smith and the professor began on November 1 when he sent an email discussing disciplinary action taken against him in 2008 over his alleged marijuana use while attending the university. A spokesperson says Smith graduated from the small liberal arts school in Aliso Viejo, Calif., in 2008.
YouTube Videos Threaten “Killing Spree”
Smith’s tone escalated to the point where he emailed the professor a link to a YouTube video which showed him holding a semiautomatic pistol on his chest, reports CBS News. In the video, Smith says college employees “never liked me”. He says he filed complaints against the school and several employees after he was repeatedly fined for residence hall violations and was accused of stealing another student’s belongings.
Another video on his YouTube channel, titled “What Good Does Killing Ever Do”, Smith says going on a “killing spree sounds like a great idea compared to dying or committing suicide”.
A separate video shows Smith with a shotgun slung over his shoulder while talking about going to a college campus and shooting students or police officers.
“If you’re going to go on a killing spree, you might as well do it equally. I’ve given it a lot of thought about this,” he says in the video. “Who do you kill? I’ve come to the conclusion you just shoot everyone.”
Smith was taken into custody within 48 hours of the email exchange. Investigators found nine firearms in his home which were all loaded and confiscated. All of the guns were legally registered to Smith.
Former Landlords Says Suspect Showed Concerning Behavior
Barbara Fleck, Smith’s former landlord, says his odd and frightening behavior came to light just four days after he and his mother moved into the garage of her rented-out bungalow in 2013.
Fleck says Smith often had angry tirades that lead to screaming matches with other tenants. She says he would leave notes on other tenants’ doors and could be heard verbally abusing his mother, reports the LA Times.
“He would go through these rages,” recalls a tenant. “He would just explode like a ticking time bomb.”
In the short time Smith and his mother lived there, Los Angeles police officers were called to the house at least six times.
In March 2014, Fleck began the process of eviction after the pair stopped paying their rent.
“We did not see defendant David Smith hit his mother but we saw black and blue bruises on her arm,” Fleck wrote in her narrative for eviction. “When questioned by police, she blamed the bruises on contact with the pets on the property.”
Janice Bender, another former landlord, says she would hear Smith verbally abusing his mother as well.
In one incident, Bender says Smith’s mother was taken to the hospital after suffering a spiral fracture on her arm. “She said David hadn’t done it and that she had fallen.”
Bender also evicted the pair after they stopped paying rent.