2015 Los Angeles Unified School District Closure

2015 Los Angeles Unified School District Closure

Updated Mar 22, 2017 at 06:42PM EDT by Don.

Added Dec 16, 2015 at 03:51PM EST by Brad.

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2015 Los Angeles Unified School District Closure was an unscheduled one day shutdown of all schools in Los Angeles and its adjoining Southern California cities on December 15th, 2015. Prompted by an e-mail threat sent to several board members of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the closure resulted in the recess of 900 schools and 187 public charter schools and affected more than 700,000 students in the country's second-largest school district. However, the e-mail threat was subsequently determined to be a hoax.


On December 15th, 2015, the LAUSD officials announced a temporary closure of all district schools on the grounds of a credible threat of terrorism they had received via e-mail from madbomber@cock.li on the previous day. According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the email sent to officials alleged that multiple schools would be targeted in an attack involving pistols, assault rifles and explosive devices concealed in backpacks and packages.

E-mail Transcript


I am emailing you to inform you of the happenings on Tuesday, 12/15/15.

Something big is going down. Something very big. It will make national headlines. Perhaps, even international ones. You see, my last 4 years here at one of the district high schools has been absolute hell. Pure, unmitigated, agony. The bullying, the loneliness, the rejection… it is never-ending. And for what? Just because I'm 'different'?

No. No more. I am a devout Muslim, and was once against violence, but I have teamed up with a local jihadist cell as it is the only way I'll be able to accomplish my massacre the correct way. I would not be able to do it alone. Me, and my 32 comrades, will die tomorrow in the name of Allah. Every school in the L.A. Unified district is being targeted. We have bombs hidden in lockers already at several schools. They are strategically placed and are meant to crumble the foundations of the very buildings that monger so much hate and discrimination. They are pressure cooker bombs, hidden in backpacks around the schools. They are loaded with 20 lbs. of gunpowder, for maximum damage. They will be detonated via Cell Phone. Not only are there bombs, but there are nerve gas agents set to go off at a specific time: during lunch hour. To top it off, my brothers in Allah and I have Kalashnikov rifles, Glock 18 Machine pistols, and multiple handheld grenades. The students at every school in the L.A. Unified district will be massacred, mercilessly. And there is nothing you can do to stop it.

If you do end up trying to, by perhaps, beefing up security, or canceling classes for the day, it won't matter. Your security will not be able to stop us. We are an army of Allah. If you cancel classes, the bombings will take place regardless, and we will bring our guns to the streets and offices of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and San Diego.

I wish you the best luck. It is time to pray to allah, as this may be your last day.

Notable Developments

News Media Coverage

The announcement of the LAUSD closure was immediately picked up by virtually all local news outlets in the region, including KTLA[12], ABC7[13], Los Angeles Times[6][7] and CBS Los Angeles[8], as well as major U.S. news publications and online news sites, such as CNN[16], The Huffington Post[2][3], BoingBoing[4] and Ars Technica[5], among many others.

Police Investigation

Shortly after the LAPD began investigating the e-mail threat, the authorities were able to trace its sender to an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany, though it was deemed as a preliminary assessment and not the identification of its origin. Meanwhile in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Department (NYPD) officials announced that they had received the same threat via e-mail on the previous day, though they promptly dismissed the e-mail as a hoax based on a grammatical analysis of the language used in the letter.

NYPD NEWs @NYPDnews "We are very comfortable that this is not a credible threat...concerned with people overreacting to it," says @CommissBratton RETWEETSLIKES 130 57 11:34 AM-15 Dec 2015

"The language in the e-mail would lead us to believe that this is not a jihadist initiative," he said. "…That would be incredible to think that any jihadist would not spell Allah with a capital ‘A.'"

Cock.li Email Server Subopena

Around 12:05 p.m., shortly before the officials began speculating the possibility of a hoax, Vincent Canfield[10], the owner and administrator of an underground e-mail server at cock.li (shown below, left), tweeted a copy of the subpoena documents[9] he received from the NYPD, as well as audio recordings of brief conversations he had with NYPD's Intelligence Bureau officials (shown below, right). According to the website[11], the server provides email services for more than 63,500 accounts, many of them for domains containing expletive language and meme references, including over 3,000 accounts associated with 4chan's splinter community 8chan.

cock.li email hosting WE RECYCLE! home I server info I mailing list I donate I webmail change password I register I greentext repository I twitter i love anal-Vince PTP s itpost with your mouth at: we have BLEThe Date Rape Appreciation Station! ,vi ms Join the official cock.li mumble server today!!!!! The Date Rape Appreciation Station!* drugs s quality discussign https://aaathats3 as.com/ video games memes drugs quality discussio s cool people fags http://cock.li/transparency/2015-12-15-subpoena/ POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM To: COCK.LI EMAIL HOSTING ATTN: VINCENT CANFIELD GREETINGS: We command you, that all business and excuses being laid aside, you and each of you appear before LAWRENCE BYRNE, a Deputy Commissioner of the Police Department of the City of New York, and bring with you and produce for examination account holder narne(s), account holders address(s), social security number(s), billing address(s), phonc number(s), contact name(s), postal code, country, associatcd e-mail addrcss or addresses, date of account creation and (if applicable) timc of closure. List all IP addresses at cach logins, MAC address for router and any devices used, "Can-Be-Rcachcď" numbers -alternate contact numbers given by the account holder(s), any and all notes recorded in the account records, and any other account-type and/or credit information on file for these custoner(s) including any complaints filed against account holder. In addition, supply transaction history for the lifctime of these accounts, along with transaction times, dates, amount, types (sent/reccived/deposited/withdrawn), counterpart's emails and names and transaction descriptions. List of financial instruments linked to the account(s), like direct-deposit, credit/debit cards and bank accounts and any other billing or financial instruments linked to this account(s) User: ALL CERTIFIED AS TRUE COPIES Such records are required pursuant to an authorized investigation being conducted by the Police Department of the City of New York You are not to disclose or notify any customer or third party of the existence of this subpoena or thal records were provided pursuant to this subpoena until further notice by the issuing authority. Any such disclosure could impede the investigation being conducted and thercby interfere with enforcement of thc law acc and Timc for Appcafance: At 1 Police Plaza on December 18, 2015 at 10 A.M In lieu of personal appearance you may forward records requested to investigator listed below by the above date. Failure to comply with this subpoena duccs tecum will result in the institution and prosecution of proceedings or actions as authorized by law. Issued under the authority of Section 14- 137 of the Administrative Code of the City of Ncw York WITNESS: DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LAWRENCE BYRNE This date December 15, 2015 FOR DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LEGAL MATTERS 1 Police Plaza New York, NY 10038 Investigator: Detective Michael Arena/Sergeant Mourad Mourad Command HIDTA LMU #: 15-0649 Phone #: Fax #: Ernai 250 Vesey Street, 20th Floor Ncw York, NY 10281 (646) 805 (646) 805 marena@nynjhidta.org or mmourad@nynjhidta.org

Official Responses

By early afternoon on December 15th, ranking members on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee had released a statement saying that the threat appears to be "a hoax or something designed to disrupt school districts in large cities." As more officials similarly began dismissing the e-mail threat as a hoax, the LAUSD's decision came under some criticism, most notably from Bill Bratton, the current commissioner of NYPD and the former chief of LAPD, who told reporters that the closure of all campuses in the country's second-largest school district was a "significant overreaction" (shown below, left). Meanwhile, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines defended his decision as a proactive measure taken out of an abundance of caution, particularly in the light of the mass shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead ealrier that same month. Later that day, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest implicitly supported the city officials by saying that "[he] won't second guess the decisions made by local law enforcement officials" (shown below, right).


As a result of the district-wide closure, a total of 1,531 campus sites were inspected by 2,780 law enforcement officers over the course of six or seven hours. In addition, the LAUSD suffered a loss of $29 million in state funding, though some state officials, including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, suggested that the funds may be reimbursed in consideration of the circumstances.

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