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Student arrested, charged with planning shooting at Southern California high school

Ontario police provide update on student arrested for planning school shooting
Ontario police provide update on student arrested for planning school shooting 08:21

A Southern California student was arrested over the weekend after police said they were able to determine that he was plotting a school shooting at Ontario Christian High School in San Bernardino County. 

The 18-year-old student, who has been identified as Sebastian Villasenor, was arrested Saturday after Ontario Police Department investigators were able to determine that the student had made "viable threats" last Thursday, Feb. 8. 

"What we discovered through the course of our investigation was that Villasenor had every intention of carrying out a school shooting at the Ontario Christian High School," Ontario Police Chief Michael Lorenz said in a news conference Wednesday.

An investigation led them to the student's home where they discovered multiple weapons, Lorenz said. In all, they recovered seven rifles, two revolvers, one handgun and one shotgun, as well as more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. 

"We determined through various interviews that Villasenor had five intended victims and contemplated a sixth victim," Lorenz said. "All of the potential victims are students of Ontario Christian High School."

Lorenz said that there was not a hit list, but that they were able to determine these threats by interviews that detailed his interactions with the other students.

Police say that Villasenor had extensively researched tactical supplies and police response times while plotting the threats, as well as how far the Ontario Police Department was from the campus location. 

They say that he was "obsessed" with school shootings, especially the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, which led them to believe that he may have been planning the shooting on or around April 20, which is when the deadly incident took place back in 1999. 

Villasenor has been charged with one count of attempted criminal threats and five counts of attempted murder, all of which are felonies, Lorenz said. He was formally charged on Wednesday and remains behind bars at the West Valley County Jail. 

"As it's related to Villasenor's motive, we have been able to determine from interviews he was not bullied or harassed, he did however have difficulties in forming relationships with other students and in his social interactions," Lorenz said. 

They were made aware of the threats by another student at the school, who alerted someone that Villasenor, who was reportedly suspended at the time, had shown signs of "being fixated with school shootings."

Police were then alerted of the threat by Ontario High School Principal Ben Dykhouse.

"There was a student who was so brave to come forward, see something say something, and shared their fear that they and others could be harmed by Villasenor and followed through with their training that they received from the school," Lorenz said. "To be clear, the student who came forward ... is a hero. That student saved lives, spared families from losing their children and a community from being devastated from a senseless act of violence."

Investigators are confident that there is no more threat to the students or staff of the school. 

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