LOS ANGELES – An Oklahoma man who grew up in Los Angeles was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint alleging that he telephoned bomb threats to five Los Angeles schools, including two elementary schools, and also threatened to shoot the children as they exited one of the elementary schools.
Marcus James Buchanan, 44, of Blackwell, Oklahoma, is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Wichita, Kansas.
Buchanan is charged with one count of making a threat through interstate commerce to damage or destroy buildings by fire or explosives.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, during a period of less than two hours on the morning of February 28, Buchanan 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, Buchanan allegedly threatened to shoot the children as they exited the building.
On April 27 and 28, Buchanan allegedly called in additional bomb threats to two of the Los Angeles schools he previously threatened, and threatened to shoot and kill children at other schools. On the afternoon of April 27, Buchanan called an elementary school and said to a school 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 the affidavit. When the employee asked who was calling, Buchanan allegedly responded, “If you try to find out, I will shoot you.” After receiving the threat, the 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, Buchanan allegedly called the same school again and said there was a pipe bomb placed at the school’s address. After receiving the bomb threat, the school staff notified police and placed the school on lockdown. Police searched the campus for explosives or unusual items but found none.
That same day, Buchanan allegedly 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.” Afterwards, the school was placed on lockdown, but – as with all the incidents – no explosives or unusual items were found.
Phone records indicated that the threatening calls came from a number identified with Buchanan, the affidavit states.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Buchanan would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
The FBI and the Los Angeles School Police Department investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Morgan J. Cohen of the General Crimes Section is prosecuting this case.