Monrovia Man Charged in Phoned Threats Against Schools, Mall
A Monrovia man whom authorities said had a history of making false bomb threats was charged Thursday with a series of threatening phone calls that prompted lockdowns at San Gabriel Valley schools, hospitals and a mall.
Gerardo Cortez, 26, allegedly called police to say he would shoot people with an AK-47 assault rifle in a series of threats last week, authorities said.
Cortez was charged with six felony counts of making criminal threats and five counts of false report of an emergency, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
He was expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon the West Covina branch of Los Angeles Superior Court. Prosecutors planned to ask for bail to be set at $300,000.
Cortez — who has a prior conviction for a false bomb threat, according to the DA’s office — was arrested at his home Tuesday after a five-agency joint investigation.
“The nature of these criminal threats brought tremendous fear to students, faculty, parents, patients, and the community,” stated a news release issued Tuesday on behalf of the five agencies involved. “It also drew a significant amount of policing resources away from other legitimate purposes.”
The threats prompted lockdowns and evacuations at schools in Monrovia, Arcadia and Duarte and at medical facilities in several cities in the area. Santa Anita Mall in Arcadia was also locked down following a phoned threat.
The FBI joined the investigation last week because the threats spanned several jurisdictions, a bureau spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times.