It is alleged that Professor Rainer Klaus Reinscheid planned to kill students and staff at University High School in Irvine following the suicide of his son who was disciplined at the school.
Reinscheid made a brief court appearance in a Santa Ana courtroom yesterday where the arraignment of the 48-year-old professor at the University of California, Irvine was postponed. Reinscheid was ordered held in custody after prosecutors successfully argued he poses a danger to society.
Reinscheid faces five counts of arson and one of attempted arson. It is alleged he attempted set a fire at the park where his son killed himself and set one at the home of the assistant principal of the University High School in Irvine. Police allege three other fires were set at the high school. Reinscheid was also charged with resisting or obstructing a police officer.
In addition to these charges, the Irvine Police Department found disturbing emails allegedly written by the professor. Orange County deputy district attorney Andrew Katz was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "He is accused of setting these fires and he is accused of writing graphic, detailed emails in which he laid out plans to purchase guns, murder unnamed students and named administrators, burn the school to the ground and commit acts of sexual assault and kill himself."
As CNN reports, Reinscheid was initially arrested on July 24 when police observed him attempting to light a fire in the park. The professor is also alleged to have resisted arrest at that time. He was released later that day on $50,000 bail but taken into custody again three days later when officers, during the course of their investigation, examined the professor's cell phone and found the emails.
The Orange County Register reports that last March, Reinscheid's 14-year-old son was caught stealing from a parent-run store in his high school. As punishment, the boy was required to pick up trash around the school. He hanged himself later that month.
Ian Hanigan, a spokesman for the Irvine United School District, told the Register that although the professor was "extremely distraught" over his son's death, he did not threaten school staff. Until his arrest, no one connected Reinscheid with the fires.
CBS Los Angeles reports Reinscheid is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UCI and has taught at the school for 12 years.
Reinscheid faces up to 12 years and eight months in prison if convicted. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 8.