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Teen charged with sending e-mail threats

March 10, 2001

Teen charged with sending e-mail threats



WALKERSVILLE, Md. (AP) - State police arrested a teen-ager Friday night on charges of sending e-mail threats to students at Santana High School after two people were shot to death and 13 others wounded there earlier this week.

Patrick Andrew Smith, 18, was arrested outside his Walkersville home by Maryland and California authorities, said Lt. Ron Van Raaphorst, a spokesman for the San Diego County Sheriff's Dept.

A representative of the family said they have no comment on the arrest.

Investigators said they also traced e-mail threats received by students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., to a computer belonging to Smith. Those threats were sent Tuesday.

He was arrested on charges under Maryland law that included first-degree assault, e-mail harassment and making threats against a school. In California, he faces two counts of making terrorist threats.

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On Wednesday, two students from Santana High School reported receiving what Van Raaphorst called "very violent and grotesque" e-mails from someone pledging to "finish what was started."

The threats caused enough concern with students, parents and faculty at the high school that the school was closed at noon Friday.

San Diego-based investigators took an overnight flight to Maryland to take part in the arrest, Van Raaphorst said. The San Diego County District Attorney is seeking to extradite Smith, who was tracked by investigators working for a high-tech crime task force that includes federal and local authorities.

He attempted to hide his identification by using multiple Internet companies, Maryland State Police reported. Internet service providers helped with the investigation, police said.

Two students at the Santee campus were killed and 13 other people wounded Monday morning when a teenager opened fire.

Fifteen-year-old Charles Andrew "Andy" Williams has been charged with murder and other crimes in connection with the shootings.

Williams lived in Brunswick, about 22 miles from Walkersville, before moving to Southern California last summer.

In one message Smith allegedly wrote, "I liked you, but I'm finishing what Andy started and this time it's going to work."

Police said there is no evidence to suggest Smith and Williams knew each other.

Staff writer Scott Butki contributed to this story.

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