SANTA ANA, Calif. — A man who posted videos of himself holding guns and describing his desire to go on a killing rampage sent threatening messages to a Southern California university spokeswoman saying he had “nothing to lose” and would “make some examples that no one will forget,” according to court documents released Wednesday.
David Kenneth Smith, 39, pleaded not guilty earlier this week to a charge of making criminal threats against the private Soka University in Orange County.
Smith had been emailing the spokeswoman about discipline he faced for marijuana use when he attended the university in 2008. He then sent a link to a YouTube video showing him in a bathtub with a semi-automatic pistol on his chest speaking about the school, sheriff’s officials said.
“You better hope things start going better for me, before I make some examples that no one will forget,” Smith wrote to the university’s media relations director, according to a search warrant application obtained by The Associated Press. “I will be seeing you all very soon ha ha.”
The employee told investigators that Smith had worked for her in the university’s press office and had not spoken with him since she wrote him a job recommendation in 2008.
A sheriff’s investigator said after reviewing 17 videos on Smith’s YouTube channel that detectives found Smith “appeared to be angry and threatening, as well as depressed about his life.”
In one of the videos, Smith looks into the camera and says college employees had “never liked me” and recalled being repeatedly fined for residence hall violations and being accused of stealing another student’s belongings.
In other videos, Smith talks about how he thinks carrying out a “killing spree” would be better than taking his own life, as he said his father did. Another video showed Smith with a shotgun slung over his shoulder as talks about possibly going to a college campus and shooting students indiscriminately or shooting at police officers.
Sheriff’s Investigator Sandra Hawkins wrote in the search warrant application that Smith has “discussed mass shootings and the unfairness of his life to a point that it appears to be a fixation.”
When investigators searched Smith’s home in the West Hollywood neighborhood last week, they found nine loaded guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and receipts from a shooting range, according to court documents.
The search warrant application said Smith’s former landlord had also reported him to Los Angeles police several times after she heard him shouting expletives at his elderly mother.
Smith remained jailed Wednesday on $1 million bail. His attorney did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.
Balsamo reported from Los Angeles.