VISTA (CNS) - A 61-year-old man accused of falsely reporting an impending school shooting near his Oceanside home six days after a gunman killed 20 students and six faculty members in Newtown, Conn., pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge of making a criminal threat.
A judge allowed Alex Paul Rodriguez to remain free on his posted $50,000 bail and ordered the defendant to stay away from Laurel Elementary School.
Rodriguez, who uses a wheelchair, was taken into custody the morning of Dec. 21 at the College Boulevard residence he shares with his wife, according to the Oceanside Police Department.
Rodriguez allegedly left a message on a voice-mail system at Laurel Elementary at 4:15 a.m. Dec. 20, claiming that there would be a shooting there about seven hours later.
"The caller ended the message with what is being described as maniacal laughter," Oceanside police Lt. Leonard Mata said.
Due to the threat, teachers kept pupils inside locked classrooms for the day as police officers patrolled the western Oceanside campus and surrounding neighborhood.
Investigators were able to trace the menacing call to a cell phone owned by Rodriguez, according to Mata.
"Police found no evidence in his home that suggested Rodriguez intended to carry out the threat," the lieutenant said. "No firearms were located. The motive for the threat has not been established."
The threat occurred amid heightened security nationwide in the aftermath of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 pupils and six staff members were killed.
Rodriguez will be back in court Jan. 22 for a readiness conference and Feb. 11 for a preliminary hearing.
Commencement was held Sunday for seniors at the University of San Diego, with ceremonies featuring a pair of distinguished alumni.
Cool and cloudy conditions start off Friday morning, but the sun will break through in the afternoon. Strong winds in San Diego County's deserts are also expected to ease up Friday morning.
A 30-year-old was knocked out and stabbed three times at the Beyer Trolley Station early Sunday morning, according to Officer Robert Heims of the San Diego Police Department.
A bird was responsible for an outage that left thousands without electricity Sunday, a San Diego Gas & Electric spokesperson said.
The remains of a U.S. Navy pilot killed when his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War have been brought to San Diego for burial.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
With thousands of San Diegans expected to celebrate the holiday weekend at the beach, lifeguards are on high alert and a have a few warnings for those headed to the water.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is scheduled to visit local Navy personnel in San Diego and Coronado next week, her office announced Saturday.
A 30-year-old Vista man was arrested for drunk driving and failure to yield Saturday morning after leading Carlsbad police on a high-speed pursuit that ended with the suspect crashing into a pole, according to authorities.