SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — A California man accused of posting comments on ESPN’s website saying he was watching kids and wouldn’t mind killing them was in jail Tuesday on $1 million bail after he was arrested for investigation of making terrorist threats, authorities said.
Several guns were found Monday at the home of former Yale University student Eric Yee, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Low.
Yee was arrested after the sports network ESPN reported threatening posts were made in a reader response section to an online ESPN story on Thursday about new Nike sneakers named after LeBron James that cost $270 a pair. Some of the nearly 3,000 reader comments on the story talked about children possibly getting killed over the sneakers because of how expensive they are, said ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys.
“What he was posting had nothing to do with sports,” Soltys said Tuesday. “We closely monitor the message boards and anytime we get a threat, we’re alerting law enforcement officials.”
An employee at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., notified local police the same day and they linked the posting to Yee’s home in Santa Clarita in northern Los Angeles County. Sheriff’s investigators said they were contacted Sunday and began surveillance on the home where Yee, 21, lives with his parents until a search warrant was obtained.
Yee and his family could not be reached for comment. A call to a phone number for him went straight to voicemail Tuesday.
The online post on ESPN said that a shooting would be like the one in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed and 58 were injured in July, authorities said.
Yee’s parents’ home is on a street that overlooks an elementary school and a middle school, Low said. Both schools were open Tuesday, although at least three children didn’t attend class after they were notified by the school about the arrest, said Dianne Saunders, principal of Santa Clarita Elementary School.
“As always, safety is our first priority and we are working closely with police to ensure our kids remain safe,” Saunders said. “We are thankful that police departments are working together and without the information from Bristol, maybe this wouldn’t have been able to be stopped.”
Authorities didn’t disclose how serious the threat was, but they were looking to see if the suspect had made similar posts on the Internet.
“We take all these kinds of threats serious, especially with the climate of other shootings around the nation over the past year,” Low said.
Low said investigators were still attempting to determine if anybody else might be involved.
Sheriff’s investigators are working with Bristol police and police at Yale University, where the registrar’s office says Yee was a student until he withdrew from school in May of this year for undisclosed reasons. Yale officials say he had been expected to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics this past spring.
A Yale website lists him as a member of its Class of 2012 and a participant in a leadership training program.