An associate professor at the University of California at Irvine has been arrested in connection with a plot to burn down his son’s former high school and kill students and administrators.
Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, a 10-year associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UCI, was arrested July 27 after police discovered emails detailing the plan, police said.
Reinscheid allegedly hatched the plot in March, after his 14-year-old son, a University High School student, committed suicide by hanging, police said.
School officials confirmed the teen's suicide followed his being disciplined for stealing, but students at University High School say they doubt the discipline made their classmate suicidal.
One student speculated the teen's suicide was related to bullying. Another student described Reinscheid's son as "always alone."
The teen's body was found at Mason Park Preserve in Irvine, police said. Reinscheid allegedly set several fires in the area after that.
Reinscheid's arraignment in Santa Ana Superior Court was postponed Tuesday until Aug. 8.
He has been charged with two felony counts of arson of another's property, two felony counts of arson of a structure, one felony count of arson of an inhabited residence, one felony count of attempted arson, and one misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing an officer, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
If convicted, Reinscheid faces up to sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison.
On July 27, detectives discovered e-mails on the defendant’s cell phone that described in detail his plan to burn down University High School, commit sexual assaults, purchase firearms and kill school officials and students, before killing himself.
Once the emails were discovered, Reinscheid was re-arrested, police said.