Oklahoma Man Pleads Guilty to Making Bomb Threats to Los Angeles Schools

Oklahoma Man Pleads Guilty to Making Bomb Threats to Los Angeles Schools

A school within the Los Angeles Unified School District in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 8, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

City News Service

City News Service

2/17/2024

Updated: 2/17/2024

LOS ANGELES—An Oklahoma man who grew up in Los Angeles pleaded guilty Feb. 16 to telephoning bomb threats to five Los Angeles schools, including two elementary schools, and also threatened to shoot the children as they exited one of the schools.
Marcus Jamal Sanchez, 45, of Blackwell, Oklahoma, entered his plea in downtown Los Angeles to one count of making a telephonic threat to damage or destroy buildings by fire or explosives, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton scheduled a June 7 sentencing hearing, at which time Mr. Sanchez will face up to 10 years in federal prison.
According to court papers, during a period of less than two hours on the morning of Feb. 28, 2022, Mr. Sanchez called in bomb threats to two elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school in Los Angeles. In a call to one of the elementary schools, Mr. Sanchez threatened to shoot the children as they exited the building.
On April 27 and 28, 2022, Mr. Sanchez made additional bomb threats targeting two of the Los Angeles schools he had previously threatened, this time threatening to shoot children at other schools. On April 27, 2022, he called an elementary school and told an employee, “There is a bomb at your school and we will shoot the kids when they get out of the school. That is what you get for not accepting me in ‘86,” according to an affidavit filed in L.A. federal court.
When the employee asked who was calling, Mr. Sanchez responded, “If you try to find out, I will shoot you,” prosecutors said.
School staff notified police and placed the school on lockdown. Police searched the campus for explosives or unusual items but found none.
On April 28, 2022, Mr. Sanchez called the same school again and said there was a pipe bomb placed at the school’s address. Police were again notified and the campus was locked down and searched, but no destructive devices were found.
A police vehicle pulls up next to two officers standing at their vehicle outside a closed school near downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 15, 2015. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

A police vehicle pulls up next to two officers standing at their vehicle outside a closed school near downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 15, 2015. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

That same day, Mr. Sanchez called a different elementary school and said, “Stop playing games, you know who this is. I am going to shoot the school. I know the kids are there.” That school was also placed on lockdown, but no explosives or unusual items were found.
Phone records determined that the threatening calls came from a number linked to Mr. Sanchez, the affidavit states.
Mr. Sanchez, who was arrested in June 2022, has been free on bond since July 2022.
“Sanchez put children, teachers and staff at risk through his reckless and irresponsible actions,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement. “Schools should be safe havens for our kids, and my office will use the force of federal law—when necessary—to prosecute individuals who threaten the educational safety of our young people.”
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