California man threatened mass shooting to avoid attending county fair with parents

Police say Erik Villasenor, 22, made false threats of violence because he didn't want to go to the Los Angeles County Fair.
Image: Visitors buy food at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona
Visitors buy food at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, California.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters file

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By Ben Kesslen

A California man made false threats of a mass shooting to avoid attending a county fair with his family, police said.

Erik Villasenor, 22, sent an email to staff at the Los Angeles County Fair on Friday afternoon threatening violence at the event, said police in Pomona, California, a city 30 miles east of L.A.

In the email, Villasenor wrote, 'Hello, I was told that someone was planning on doing a mass shooting on Sunday at the Fairgrounds. I just wanted to inform you guys already,” according to Pomona Police Chief Mike Olivieri.

Villasenor’s parents were planning on bringing him to the fair, and he didn’t want to go, Olivieri said in a press conference Saturday.

"Though he's 22, he felt that it was appropriate to send this threat and we believe it was with the intent that it would...spark some chaos and commotion,” Olivieri said. “It would be captured by the media and then he could use that as an excuse to his parents to not go to the fair."

Partnering with the FBI, local law enforcement tracked down Villasenor and arrested him Friday at his parent’s home in Sylmar, California, on the suspicion of making false threats.

Villasenor admitted to the hoax, police said, who are also seeking reimbursement from him for the resources used in the investigation.