LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California professor accused of setting a string of fires following his son's suicide has been ordered held without bail after prosecutors said he wrote emails threatening to burn down the boy's school and kill administrators and students in a shooting rampage.
Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of California, Irvine, was arrested last week after police said they found him trying to set a fire in the park where his son hung himself in March.
The accusations against the 48-year-old professor come amid jitters about U.S. gun violence following a shooting rampage in Colorado by a gunman who burst into a midnight screening of the new "Batman" film last month, killing 12 people and wounding dozens more.
Reinscheid was charged with committing five arsons. Officials said he set three fires at University High School in Irvine, which his 14-year-old son, Claas Stubbe, attended. Irvine is a suburban community in Orange County, about 50 miles south of Los Angeles.
Stubbe killed himself after he was disciplined by a school administrator.
"He was angry and unsatisfied with the investigation into his son's death," UC Irvine professor Bruce Blumberg, a colleague of Reinscheid's, told the Los Angeles Times.
Orange County prosecutors asked the judge to deny Reinscheid bail and cited emails they said described his plans to burn down the high school, commit sexual assaults, murder school officials and students and then take his own life.
An Orange County Superior Court judge ordered him held without bail at least until his next court appearance next week.
The Orange County Register newspaper, citing court documents, reported that in one of the emails Reinscheid said he would find a vice principal at the school and kill him.
"I will make him cry and beg, but I will not give him a chance, just like he did to Claas. I will make him die, slowly, surely," the email said, according to the paper. "Next I will set fire to Uni High and try to burn down as much as I can, there should be nothing left that gives them reason to continue their miserable school that goes over dead bodies, only to save their scores."
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Stacey Joyce)