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Former UCI Student Faces Prosecution for Mass Shooting Threats

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A former UCI student was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison before an early release after seven months in October 2021. Among the offenses were mass shooting threats posted to Twitter: “In the year 2020, I had prepared to commit a mass shooting on the UC Irvine campus. My intent was to cause financial injury to the University … I had planned to pursue the shooting of students in the event that the University failed to provide restitution for my injuries.”

30-year-old Sebastian Bogdan Dumbrava has pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges — including one count of sending an email with the intent to extort an employee at the University of California Office of the President and an attorney representing the Board of Regents demanding immediate payment of $50,000 for transportation and housing — and is being held on $1-million bail. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has informed UCI that the trial is scheduled for Aug. 2.

Dumbrava was placed on a psychiatric hold in January 2020. The UCI Police Department (UCIPD) initially suspected that Dumbrava intended to engage in self-harm after the discovery of Reddit posts in which he wrote his dorm address and “come kill me … and get 5K.”

UCIPD detective Samuel Soon’s sworn statement described threatening emails and posts authored by Dummbrava, such as a Tweet quoting 2007 Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho: “You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.”

Dumbrava sued the University of California Board of Regents the following August on account of the hold being unlawful and preventing him from acquiring a security clearance necessary for his pursuit of a career in the federal government. He demanded a settlement of $600,000 a year for 30 years on Dec. 27 — the same day he purchased $675 worth of assault rifle parts. 

The police report indicated that Dumbrava bought large-capacity magazines and ammunition in Arizona — where background checks to purchase ammunition are not required, though their transit into California is prohibited. 

Officers found 1,199 rounds of ammunition, 22 large-capacity magazines and a deconstructed AR-15 style firearm in Dumbrava’s home in January 2020. He was convicted in March 2021 of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

Dumbrava was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison. He served seven months of his sentence and was released in October 2021. His justifications for his crimes were as follows on Twitter: “In the year 2020, I had prepared to commit a mass shooting on the UC Irvine campus. My intent was to cause financial injury to the University … I had planned to pursue the shooting of students in the event that the University failed to provide restitution for my injuries.”

Dumbrava was arrested again in January 2022 after allegedly exhausting his ankle monitor’s battery and refusing to attend a mandated visit with a probation officer. 

A second search warrant led to law enforcement finding receipts for ammunition purchases and five large-capacity magazines, which were bought in Arizona, in his mother’s storage locker in Anaheim, according to Soon’s statement

Dumbrava was released in February but arrested again in early March by Garden Grove police following his failure to report to a probation officer.

“This is someone who has repeatedly threatened to shoot up a college campus and has the weaponry and ammo to do it and I’m mad as hell that the state Legislature refuses to give me the tools to put him behind bars where he belongs for a very long time. When someone shows us who they are and what they are capable of doing we have to believe them — and do something about it,” Orange County DA Todd Spitzer said in a press release.

UCIPD issued school-wide emails to students on April 19, May 31 and July 18 with status updates on the case and reassurance of the vigilance of UCIPD and campus leaders. 

“Threats of gun violence should be handled with an elevated sense of urgency and caution, especially because of the frequency in which they occur nationwide,” second-year computer science and engineering student Apurva Mandal said. “Though I was alarmed by the content of the emails and the thought of my peers and myself being in danger, I appreciate UCI’s prioritization of our safety and their ability to keep us well-informed.” 

UCIPD encourages community members to report any suspicious activity to 949-824-5223.

Veronica Garza is a 2022-2023 City News Editor. She can be reached at citynews@newuniversity.org.