LOS ANGELES — A California professor accused of setting a string of fires following his son’s suicide has been ordered held without bail after prosecutors said he wrote emails threatening to burn down the boy’s school and kill administrators and students in a shooting rampage.
Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of California, Irvine, was arrested last week after police said they found him trying to set a fire in the park where his son hung himself in March.
The accusations against the 48-year-old professor come amid jitters about US gun violence following a shooting rampage in Colorado by a gunman who burst into a midnight screening of the new Batman film last month, killing 12 people and wounding dozens more.
Reinscheid was charged with committing five arsons. Officials said he set three fires at University High School in Irvine, which his 14-year-old son, Claas Stubbe, attended. Irvine is a suburban community in Orange County, about 50 miles south of Los Angeles.
Stubbe killed himself after he was disciplined by a school administrator.
“He was angry and unsatisfied with the investigation into his son’s death,” UC Irvine professor Bruce Blumberg, a colleague of Reinscheid’s, told the Los Angeles Times.
Orange County prosecutors asked the judge to deny Reinscheid bail and cited emails they said described his plans to burn down the high school, commit sexual assaults, murder school officials and students and then take his own life. (Reuters)