Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 12NF2212: July 31, 2012
Contacts: Susan Kang Schroeder, , Chief of Staff, Office: 714-347-8408, Cell: 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486
UCI PROFESSOR TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR ARSONS OF SON’S HIGH SCHOOL, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL’S HOME, AND NEARBY PARK
*OCDA is seeking no bail after police found e-mails detailing defendant’s plan to murder students and administrators
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) will be seeking to have a defendant held without bail for committing a series of arsons after the Irvine Police Department (IPD) discovered e-mails by the defendant detailing plans to murder students and administrators at an Irvine high school.
Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, Irvine, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, is charged with two felony counts of arson of another’s property, two felony counts of arson of a structure, one felony count of arson of an inhabited residence, one felony count of attempted arson, and one misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing an officer. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison. The People will be requesting the defendant be held without bail at his arraignment today, Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
In March 2012, Reinscheid’s 14-year-old son, who attended University High School in Irvine, was disciplined at school. Sometime subsequent to this, the defendant’s son committed suicide in Mason Park Preserve in Irvine.
Between July 4, 2012, and July 24, 2012, Reinscheid is accused of committing five arsons and one attempted arson by lighting various objects on fire including newspapers, fireplace logs, brush and vegetation, a book, and a plastic porch chair. He is accused of committing these arsons on the campus of University High School, in Mason Park Preserve, and at a school administrator’s home.
At approximately 12:40 a.m. on July 24, 2012, Reinscheid is accused of attempting to set a fire in Mason Park Preserve using newspaper and lighter fluid. Officers from IPD, who were conducting increased patrols of the park due to the recent arsons, observed the defendant and arrested him near the scene. When contacted by officers, Reinscheid is accused of refusing to comply with their orders to stop and attempting to resist arrest. Reinscheid posted $50,000 bail and was released from custody that day. IPD continued their investigation.
On July 27, 2012, IPD detectives discovered e-mails on the defendant’s cell phone in the course of their investigation. The defendant is accused of sending e-mails to his wife and one to himself in April 2012 describing in detail his plan to burn down University High School, commit sexual assaults, purchase firearms and murder school officials and students, and then kill himself.
Following the discovery of these e-mails and based on linking the defendant to additional arsons, Reinscheid was re-arrested on the evening of July 27, 2012, by IPD.
The OCDA believes Reinscheid poses a serious threat to the community if released from custody, and will argue to have him held without bail in light of the dangerous, violent nature of his private e-mails.
Law enforcement believes Reinscheid acted alone and he is the only defendant and suspect in this case. The high school and school district have been notified of this case.
Anyone with additional information or who believes they have had suspicious contact with the defendant is asked to leave a message on the District Attorney’s Special Investigations hotline at (714) 347-8544.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.