Local News

Man Arrested in Simi Valley School Graffiti Threat

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KTLA) — Police in Simi Valley have arrested a man who admitted to vandalizing an elementary school with threatening graffiti.

23-year-old Stephen A. Lazarus, of Simi Valley, faces charges of making terrorist threats, vandalism and tagging swastikas.

simi-graffitiSimi Valley police were notified about the graffiti vandalism around 7 a.m. Monday on the campus of Justin Elementary School.

Officers responded and found that the vandalism contained swastikas as well as comments that were threatening in nature.

Several parents told the Ventura County Star that the graffiti included a threat that all the children would die at 2 p.m.

Due to the nature of the graffiti, school administrators decided to close the campus at noon. They notified parents by telephone as well as a mass email communication.

Simi Valley Police Department detectives conducted an investigation, which led to the arrest of Lazarus. He was being held on $50,000 bail.

Investigators believe the graffiti most likely occurred over the weekend.

Police say the suspect acted alone, and it is not believed that he had the means to carry out any credible threat.

Simi Valley police notified Simi Valley Unified School District officials late Monday night of the arrest and the findings of the investigation.

District officials said that Justin Elementary School would reopen on Tuesday with heightened police presence.

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