Cal State Long Beach: Police say student hacked original suspect's email account to send threat

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A Cal State Long Beach student originally suspected of sending a threatening email was released and another student was in custody, accused of using her email to send the threat that triggered a shelter-in-place order on campus Monday.

The student, identified as Prateek Devulpally, confessed to accessing a female student's email account and sending the threatening email, CSULB said in a statement Tuesday.

"The female suspect detained yesterday is working with the University Police Department and supports prosecution of Devulpally for creating and sending the threat from her email account," CSULB said. "Through a diligent investigation, University Police detectives were able to determine the female detained did not generate the email threat."

Devulpally was booked at the Long Beach Jail on one felony count each of criminal threats and knowingly and without permission uses or causes to be used computer services.

Campus police received the email threatening "violence" around 2:10 p.m. Monday and posted a tweet at around 3:50 p.m. advising those not on campus to stay away. Details surrounding the nature of the email were not released.

The investigation was initially focused around the Student Success Center on campus, where the female student had an appointment, according to CSULB Police Chief Fernando Solorzano.

The female student was taken into custody without incident, Solorzano added during a Monday evening press conference.
Shortly after 4:20 p.m., campus police tweeted an "all clear" and said the shelter-in-place order had been lifted.

Many students took to social media during the temporary lockdown, claiming that their classroom doors would not lock. Video posted on social media showed desks piled against a classroom door and a belt tied up above.

"Our classroom is really old, so they actually couldn't lock. So we had to like prop a chair against the door," said Millie Nguyen.

By early evening, a petition started asking people to sign it if they believe university campuses need to have locking doors to protect their students from an active shooter or other threat.

On Tuesday, students continued to raise questions about the security on campus.

"I saw on a lot of Twitter pages and Reddit that people were putting desks in front of classroom doors," student Madison Golden said. "I think that everything that's been happening in the last couple of years, it's shocking that classroom doors don't lock.

One of the newest buildings on campus is designed to have a shelter-in-place system, while some of the older buildings have yet to be equipped.

"When there's a threat, all they gotta do is come here and flip the switch and it locks it and closes the door," Facilities Services Director Joshua Cichuniec said. "This is an existing door that we've done basically the same thing - installed a shelter-in-place lock so when we open the door, you'll see that same thumb turn on the inside."

A spokesperson for the university said it is investing $500,000 to retrofit classroom doors so that they are able to lock.

"A few dozen of these older classrooms have already been retrofitted," CSULB Chief Communications Director Jeff Cook said.

The university says completing each door takes time due to permitting and other factors.

"There may be lead paint, there may be asbestos abatement, so anytime any of these older buildings are touched, it's a bigger project," Cook said.

CSULB says high-density classrooms, those that sit 60 students or more, will be retrofitted by the end of this year.
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