A freshman accused of making criminal threats that led to a campus-wide shelter-in-place Oct. 7, sent an email threatening to “shoot up the school” after jumping on another student’s email at the university library, police said Wednesday
Campus officials provided a detailed timeline of events that led to the arrest of Prateek Devulpally, a Long Beach State student who was charged after police released a female student, whose email he allegedly used.
Capt. John Brockie of the University Police Department confirmed that there is a “stay away order” preventing Devulpally, 18, from returning to campus; however, he has not been expelled at this time.
Although he is currently barred from campus, Brockie said this might not be permanent.
“He may be able to overcome this and come back to campus,” Brockie said. “He has his due process, and he is a Beach student.”
UPD searched Devulpally’s house after his arrest Oct. 8 and found no weapons or any other materials pointing to an intent to cause harm on campus.
Brockie said that Devulpally was “shaken up” when he was arrested and that he has challenges “of a medical nature.”
Capt. Richard Goodwin of UPD said Devulpally used a female student’s email that was still logged in at the University Library to send the threatening message.
“An opportunity presented itself for [Devulpally],” he said.
UPD used library security camera footage and other “technologies” to confirm that Devulpally had sent the email. Goodwin added that Devulpally confessed to sending the email during a police interview Oct. 8.
During the shelter-in-place situation, many students and professors found they were unable to lock doors to various rooms on campus. Many of these doors require specific keys that were not available at the time of the shelter-in-place.
Pictures were posted on social media showing chairs stacked up in front of doors and belts securing the crash bar mechanism that allows the door to open.
Associate Vice President of Beach Building Services Tony Malagrino said that while campus officials are in the process of adding more accessible and secure locks to the doors, he acknowledged the school has received criticism.
“We learned from [students, faculty and staff] that we’re not moving fast enough,” Malagrino said.
He explained that while traditional deadbolts might seem to be an obvious solution, there are regulations in place preventing their installation.
“The complication is that fire marshall is dead set against any modifications that would make it harder for a person to leave a space in the event of a fire,” Malagrino said. “The fire marshall doesn’t like locks that can’t be quickly opened,” he said.
He explained that for a door to be compliant with the California State Fire Marshal standards it must be able to unlock and open in one motion. This prevents the use of typical deadbolt locks.
Because of this, and the age of the campus buildings, many of the locks must be custom made for the specifications of each door. According to Malagrino this slows down the process and makes it more expensive.
“Some of the doors are $1,500 or $1,600 a piece to upgrade,” he said. “It’s not cheap.”
Malagrino said facilities management is requesting around $2 million from the state to fund the door renovations, but so far the funds have consisted of “campus generated money.”
“There’s nothing more important than this issue,” he said.
The renovations, which Malagrino described as “building hardening,” don’t have a set timeline. He said that the “hardening” may be completed on all first floors by summer.
“If you harden the first floor maybe [the threat will] keep on moving,” he said.
Malagrino said the buildings that are retrofitted with new locks will not be broadly announced due to safety.
“We won’t release a lot of details,” he said. “If you release the details with everybody you give [threatening individuals] a roadmap. We’ll consult with UPD.”
Editor in chief Austin Brumblay contributed to this article.