Man pleads guilty to school shooting hoax, faces 5 years in prison

A California man admitted to threatening  to shoot up a school in Church Point, Louisiana — the day after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School — to a stranger online.

Randall Swanson, a 54-year-old man from Sacramento, pleaded guilty April 22 to one count of false information or hoaxes to a U.S. district judge.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Swanson was engaged in a conversation online on Dec. 15, 2012, with a person from Church Point. During the chat he sent a message saying, “the next school massacre happing (sic) in ur (sic) town.”

He then followed up the message with photos of the location and details about how the shooting would occur. The victim who received the messages contacted local and state authorities.

Swanson later admitted he was in California when the messages were sent, and his intentions were to alarm the person he had been messaging online.

“The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary was a tragedy that our state and nation mourned,” U.S. Attorney  Stephanie A. Finley said. “This defendant used that tragedy to perpetuate a hoax and caused confusion wasting the time and resources of first responders in the region. Those who make such false threats will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Swanson faces five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date was not set.

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