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College student arrested for threats to schools across Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police arrested a college student accused of making telephone threats that sparked security alerts across the Los Angeles area on Thursday, including the evacuation of a community college and the lockdown of a second college campus and numerous public schools.

East Los Angeles College was evacuated while students and staff at about 10 nearby public schools were confined to their campuses after police received an anonymous call at about 8 a.m. local time from a person saying he was headed to a school with a gun, the sheriff's department said.

A similar security scare unfolded at about the same time in Santa Monica, about 20 miles across the Los Angeles metropolitan area to the west, where Santa Monica College and an adjacent middle school were both placed on a security lockdown, according to police.

In that case, the caller described himself as armed and suicidal and intent on engaging in a shooting spree at the college.

Law enforcement personnel swarmed into both areas to search for signs of a gunman, and it was initially unclear whether the two incidents were related.

But the evacuations, lockdowns and related road closures were lifted after a 19-year-old student of Santa Monica College was arrested as a suspect in the threats to both areas.

He was ultimately located in the college's psychological services office, where he had gone seeking help, a Santa Monica Police Department spokesman, Sergeant Richard Lewis, said.

Lewis said the individual was taken into custody without incident, and turned out not to be armed. He was not publicly identified.

(Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Kenneth Barry and Jan Paschal)

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