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Ontario school shooting plot defendant follows Hitler, is danger to other groups, prosecutor says

The 18-year-old accused of planning to murder classmates at Ontario Christian High School was also a danger to “several groups,” followed Hitler and had expressed a dislike for “minorities” and “LGBTQ” people, a prosecutor said Thursday, Feb. 15.

Sebastian Bailey Villaseñor was arraigned Thursday in Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga via video from West Valley Detention Center. Judge Arthur Benner II entered not-guilty pleas on his behalf to five counts of attempted murder and one count of attempted criminal threats.

Villaseñor is being represented by the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office.

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Joe Gaetano successfully argued that Villaseñor should continue to be held without bail. The criminal complaint says the victims of the attempted murders are four girls and one boy, and that the victim of the attempted threat is a girl.

In speaking to the judge Thursday, Gaetano identified possible additional targets that had not been disclosed during a news conference Wednesday at the Ontario Police Department.

“The defendant in this case poses a great danger to the community,” Gaetano told Benner. “The victims are all minors. They would be put in great danger. The danger would exist outside of school to several groups.”

Gaetano identified what he said were Villaseñor’s ideologies —  an interest in Hitler and dislike of certain people — to a reporter after the hearing.

A hearing on Villaseñor’s bail was scheduled for Feb. 20.

No one could immediately be located to speak on Villaseñor’s behalf. Voice messages were left Wednesday and Thursday for people identified through a public records search as his parents. A business card was left at Villaseñor’s home on an Eastvale culdesac seeking comment.

On Feb. 8, another student — who authorities describe as brave and a hero — told school employees that he had heard about a plot to shoot students. Investigators learned that Villaseñor “was fixated on school shootings and had access to weapons,” Police Chief Michael Lorenz said Wednesday.

Police who searched Villaseñor’s home seized seven rifles, three handguns, a shotgun and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, Lorenz said. He said the teen’s father legally owned the weapons.

The father is not being investigated for committing a crime, Jacquelyn Rodriguez, a district attorney’s spokeswoman, said Thursday.

Lorenz said Villaseñor mapped out the distance from the Ontario police station on Archibald Avenue to the school on W. Philadelphia Street, about 5 miles, to estimate police response times and was selecting a date for the attack.

The department investigates about 100 school threats each year, and “Villaseñor had every intention of carrying out a school shooting at the Ontario Christian School,” the chief said.

Villaseñor was not a loner or considered troubled, nor had he been bullied, Lorenz said. However, he had difficulty forming relationships and with social interactions.

School principal Ben Dykhouse said security at the school has been increased.

Source: Orange County Register

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