UPDATE: Student in custody in Santa Monica College, East LA College threats

Brightwood School Lockdown Los Angeles

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Janet Mar reunited with her son Maddox Kiyohara outside the Brightwood School on May 16th, 2013.

Brightwood School Lockdown Los Angeles

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Police officers discuss the gun threat at East Los Angeles College on May 16th, 2013.

Monterey Park school shut down

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Family members at Brightwood School in Monterey Park (from left to right) Krystal Garcia, Destinee Garcia, Aracely Lua, Armando Encizo reunite after threats shut down their school Thursday.

Lockdown

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Officers discuss a school threat at East Los Angeles College, Thursday, May 16, 2013.

Brightwood School Lockdown Los Angeles

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A student waves to one of her friends after leaving the Brightwood School after lockdown on May 16th, 2013.

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Students walking back onto Santa Monica College following a school evacuation caused by a threat to the school, Thursday, May 16, 2013.

Brightwood School Lockdown Los Angeles

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Students are escorted out of the Brightwood School after lockdown on May 16th, 2013.

Brightwood School Lockdown Los Angeles

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Employees at the Brightwood School watch the line of parents waiting for their children after the lockdown on May 16th, 2013.

Brightwood School Lockdown Los Angeles

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8th grade students return to school after the lockdown at Brightwood School on May 16th, 2013.

Brightwood School Lockdown Los Angeles

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Parents wait for their children outside of the Brightwood School on May 16th, 2013.

Brightwood School Lockdown Los Angeles

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Police gather near East Los Angeles College during a gun threat on May 16, 2013.

Brightwood School Lockdown Los Angeles

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Students play near the Brightwood School after the school was on lockdown on May 16th, 2013.


The Los Angeles Police Department is now the lead agency in the investigation of the threatening phone calls that led to the lockdown of two local community college campuses and 15 public schools. 

Police located the suspect after a search that sent parents and the news media into a panic Thursday morning.

Threats to 'shoot up' school

Monterey Park police said the caller threatened to "shoot up" an unknown school. 

The caller said a man with a gun was going to a college campus in the Monterey Park area, Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. The anonymous caller claimed to be a student at Santa Monica College and said the shooting would happen at 8 a.m. 

Police traced both cell phone calls to locations near the campuses.

Suspect found in campus Psych Services center

After an intense search, police said they located the  suspect in Santa Monica College's psychiatric services department.

"He was unarmed,"  Santa Monica police officer Richard Lewis said. "He was taken into the custody without incident. And our investigation continues."

The 19-year-old Santa Monica College student was unarmed when officers found him. He said he was suicidal and intended to shoot other students and himself, according to the Santa Monica Police Department.

Thursday evening, police Sgt. Candice Cobarrubias said the student was being questioned but hadn't been arrested.

Lockdowns and evacuations frustrate students, frighten parents

Campuses in East Los Angeles and Santa Monica were shut down because of the threat. 

East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park was evacuated and classes were canceled for the day. At Santa Monica College, students received notice of the lockdown through automated phone calls and emails. Twenty year-old journalism student Simon Luca-Manili was on of them.

"I was on the bus, and everybody's phone starts ringing," said Luca-Manili. "I pick up and there's this voice telling us the school is on lockdown. They didn't tell us why, they just said the school was on lockdown, please don't go to campus."

Luca-Manili works for the campus newspaper. He went on campus anyway and wound up recording a video of police taking the suspect from Psychology Services office to a squad car.  Luca-Manili said he didn't know the suspect personally but that he "looked familiar."

Luca-Manili said the lockdown frustrated some students.

"Wherever they were at, they had to stay in there until the threat was over," he said.  

A Santa Monica middle school, elementary school and preschool were also shut down.

Among them was Brightwood Elementary School in Monterey Park. Celeste Cruz said she ran to get her daughter, a student at the school, when she found out.

"My heart started racing. I got scared," Cruz said. "Luckily, two of my children were at home with my grandma, and one was here at school. So I came right away from work to pick her up."

Gersom Flores said he was on his way to work when he heard the news that his children's school was being evacuated due to a threat. He said he quickly raced back from Encino to Monterey Park. 

"Things have been really crazy these days," he said. "And thinking that it's at your kids' school is terrifying that something bad could happen. So it was a long ride back to school, hoping everything was all right."

No weapons were recovered.

This story has been updated. Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Santa Monica College as "Santa Monica City College."

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