SANTA ANA, Calif. (KTLA) — A UC Irvine professor was sentenced Thursday to 14 years and four months in state prison for setting fires on a high school campus, the home of a school administrator and at a local park in what prosecutors claimed was part of an elaborate plot to kill students and administrators at his son’s school after the boy committed suicide.
Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, pleaded guilty in July to setting two fires at Irvine’s University High School, three at the home of assistant principal Michael Georgino in Costa Mesa and three at Mason Park in Irvine where his 14-year-old son Claas Stubbe killed himself.
“Based on the location and nature of the arsons, we believe Reinscheid was specifically targeting the people and places he believed were related to his son’s discipline,” Orange County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Farrah Emami said.
Reinscheid was arrested July 24, 2012 in the park where his son died.
Officers had allegedly spotted him trying to set a fire with newspaper and lighter fluid.
During the arson investigation detectives discovered a number of threatening emails on Reinscheid’s cell phone.
Reinscheid wrote in emails that he was thinking about getting a dozen machine guns and shooting at least 200 students before killing himself, Emami said.
Reinscheid sent two emails to his wife and another to himself threatening to kill the assistant principal of University High School, shoot hundreds of students and burn the school to the ground in a “firestorm that destroys every single building,” Emami said.
The emails, which were filed in court by Orange County prosecutors, show Reinscheid also wrote that he wanted to kill school administrators, sexually assault two female staff members and kill himself in the same spot his son died.
“I need a gun, many guns, and then I have the ride of my life,” Reinscheid wrote. “I will give myself a wonderful ending and be with Claas very soon. I like this plan, finally a good idea.”
Prosecutors were unable to pursue criminal charges regarding the threats because the emails were private.
Court documents indicated Reinscheid was furious at University High School for how it handled his son’s death, which happened after the teenager was disciplined for stealing.
The boy was given trash pick-up duties after he was caught stealing an item from University’s parent-run student store, Irvine Unified School District spokesman Ian Hanigan said.
Hanigan described the incident as a “fairly minor offense with fairly minor discipline.”
The teenager later committed suicide in Mason Park Preserve in Irvine.
Toxicology tests showed there was no trace of drugs or alcohol in the boy’s body. The official cause of death was asphyxiation due to hanging by suicide.