Published August 01, 2012
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A California college professor plotted a shooting rampage at the high school his son had attended before the teen killed himself, planning to kill teachers and administrators before burning the school the ground, authorities say.
MyFoxLA.com reports 48-year-old Rainer Reinscheid has been charged with five counts of arson, one count of attempted arson and a misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing a police officer after allegedly setting or attempting to set a number of fires around the area.
Prosecutors say Reinscheid started five fires, including some at University High School in Irvine, earlier in July. He was arrested last week and posted $50,000 bail.
However, it was only after Reinscheid, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of California, Irvine, was released on bond that authorities say they uncovered something even more sinister.
They say they found e-mails on Reinscheid's cell phone describing a mass murder plot against University High School, targeting students and specific administrators for death.
"He is accused of writing a graphic, detailed emails," Orange County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz told MyFoxLA.com, "In which he laid out plans to purchase guns, murder unnamed students and named administrators, burn the school to the ground, commit acts of sexual assault and kill himself."
Investigators say it appeared Reinscheid had not been the same since his 14-year-old son killed himself in March.
The teen, a student at University High, killed himself at a park preserve shortly after receiving a punishment for a minor offense at school, MyFoxLA.com reports. The teen was assigned to trash pick-up duty as a punishment.
His 14-year-old son had been a student there and had been disciplined this past spring before he committed suicide at a park preserve.
Prosecutors believe Reinscheid was acting alone. After the emails were discovered, Deputy District Attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami said Reinscheid was arrested again.
"The emails by themselves do not support a criminal charge but they do support our argument that he should be denied bail because he's dangerous" Emami said.
Reinscheid has worked at UC Irvine for about 12 years, said a university spokeswoman, who referred further comment to authorities.
Authorities said Reinscheid is believed to have set five fires and tried to set another, using newspapers, fireplace logs, a book and other items to ignite them.
They said the fires were set on the University High School campus, in the Mason Park Preserve, where his son had died, and at a school administrator's home.
He was arrested at the Mason Park Preserve on July 24 when Irvine police, who had stepped up patrols in the area because of the fires, said they saw him trying to ignite another one.
Irvine Unified School District Superintendent Terry Walker expressed gratitude to the city's police department for making the arrest. He said district officials would cooperate in any way they could.
"These are extremely disturbing allegations, particularly as they involve the potential safety of both students and employees," Walker said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.