Los Angeles Times Article: Threat that closed down L.A. schools
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The threat that prompted Los Angeles Unified School District officials to close all schools Tuesday appears to be a hoax, a U.S. congressman on the House Intelligence Committee said.
"The preliminary assessment is that it was a hoax or something designed to disrupt school districts in large cities. The investigation is ongoing as to where the threat originated from and who was responsible," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said in a statement.
Another local congressman, Brad Sherman, said the person who sent an email threat to several Los Angeles Unified School board members claimed to be the victim of bullying and "an extremist Muslim who has teamed up with local jihadists" — although showed no real knowledge of Islam.
"There isn't a person on the street who couldn't have written this," said Sherman, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
In a briefing to police commissioners on Tuesday afternoon, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the email listed all LAUSD schools but implied high schools were the main target. He said the email claimed explosives had been planted and that people with ISIS connections and AK-47s would "cause further loss of life."
Beck noted that the email did not bear the usual syntax errors, incomplete sentences and non-sequiturs that generally come with hoaxes. He said his agency reviewed the threat before contacting the FBI.
Any criticism of the school closures was "irresponsible" at this point, Beck said.
"Southern California has been through a lot in the past few weeks," he said. "Should we put our children through the same thing?"
The email also mentioned pistols and was traced to an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany, according to law enforcement sources.
All L.A. Unified campuses were closed Tuesday morning after receiving what officials had called a "credible threat" of violence involving backpacks and packages left at campuses. Still, one law enforcement source familiar with the evidence said early on there was no sign that "this individual is actually capable of carrying out the threat."
LIVE UPDATES: Nation's second-largest district closes all schools
District officials have been looking into the threat since at least 10 p.m. Monday, according to a school police source.
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Los Angeles Times staff writers Joseph Serna, Kate Mather, Sarah Wire, David Zahniser, Richard Winton, Howard Blume, Harriet Ryan, Joy Resmovits, Samantha Masunaga, Chris Kirkham, Eric Sondheimer, and Corina Knoll contributed to this report.
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