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UPDATE: Man arrested for alleged threats against children is released on bail

Posted: September 20, 2012 3:39 p.m.
Updated: September 20, 2012 7:01 p.m.
Eric Yee enters the courtroom at his arraignment hearing at San Fernando Superior Court on Wednesday. Eric Yee enters the courtroom at his arraignment hearing at San Fernando Superior Court on Wednesday.
Eric Yee enters the courtroom at his arraignment hearing at San Fernando Superior Court on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Valencia man who was arrested on suspicion of threatening to murder children earlier this week was released on bail Thursday.

Eric Ting Yee, a Valencia High School graduate whose arrest made national news, posted enough money to be released from custody, said Deputy Joshua Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Bail for Yee was reduced from $1 million, set at the time of his arrest, to $100,000 on Wednesday in San Fernando Superior Court.

Yee and his father, Roger Manfoo Yee, 62, were both charged with one felony count of possessing an illegal weapon. No charges of making criminal threats had been filed.

Eric Yee was arrested Monday for allegedly posting comments in an ESPN chat room saying he was watching kids and wouldn’t mind killing them. A search of his parents’ home turned up several weapons, including an illegal H&K M-94 assault rifle. Yee’s lawyer said the gun belonged to the young man’s father, who bought it when such weapons were still legal.

The Yees’ backyard overlooks two local schools.

Firearms seized from the Yees’ Edenton Place home remain in the possession of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff’s deputies have told school officials they will increase law enforcement’s presence around both Arroyo Seco Junior High School and Santa Clarita Elementary School near the Yee home, a spokeswoman for the William S. Hart High School Union District said Thursday.

“We’ve been working closely with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on plans to assure the safety of our students and staff,” said Hart district spokeswoman Gail Pinsker.

“The Sheriff’s Department has informed us they will be providing additional law enforcement resources,” she said.

In a media release Thursday announcing Yee’s release, Dubin said: “Deputies are increasing patrols and visibility around all our local schools and will have deputies specifically assigned during school hours today and tomorrow at Arroyo Seco Junior High School and Santa Clarita Elementary School.”

He said investigators “are not aware of any threats or concerns regarding any of our Santa Clarita schools. All schools are following normal class schedules.”

While sheriff’s deputies were informing school officials of Yee’s release Thursday, parents of students enrolled at Arroyo Seco expressed mixed views of the reported threat and the precautionary steps taken in response to it.

Annie Gainer, mother of two — Natalie and Shea, both 13 — said she was satisfied with the way school officials and sheriff’s deputies handled news of the perceived threat.

“I had seen it on the news the night before, so I wasn’t worried,” she said while picking up her daughters from school Thursday.

“I knew he had been arrested and I knew about the blog,” she said.

“I was kind of scared,” her daughter Natalie said. “But then my mom told me he was in custody.”

Other parents, including some who phoned The Signal, have complained they weren’t notified before students arrived at the schools Tuesday morning.

“The didn’t do a good job, and it’s not OK,” said a parent of a 13-year-old girl who identified herself only as Sharda.

“We should have been notified when this thing happened the night before,” she said.

“There should be more security and there should be more cameras.”

Pinsker said the district was collecting information on the situation until late Monday night and was assured by the Sheriff’s Department the suspect was in custody and there was no threat.

An “all-call” notification went out via phone and email at 7:43 a.m. Tuesday, she said.



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