A man suspected of making threatening phone calls that prompted a lockdown of West Covina medical facilities last week was arrested Tuesday.
Gerardo Cortez, a 26-year-old Monrovia man, was arrested at 4 p.m. at his home, according to Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker. He was booked for five counts of felony making criminal threats and five counts of false report of an emergency.
His bail was set at $250,000. He is due for a court appearance on Thursday.
On Sept. 9, the Covina Police Department allegedly received a call at around 1 p.m. from an anonymous male who said he was at "Citrus Medical Center" and had an AK-47 "and was going to start shooting people."
The Covina Police Department called West Covina Police
about the call in which the man said he was at Citrus Medical Center,
according to West Covina Officer Rudy Lopez.
The West Covina Police responded to Queen of the Valley, located at 1115 S. Sunset Ave., and Citrus Valley Hospice, 820 N. Phillips Ave., and started a search. Both the hospital and hospice voluntarily went on lock-down status and after no gunman was found, they reopened just after 3 p.m., he said.
The most recent threat allegedly occurred on Thursday at Arcadia High School: an anonymous call saying someone had a gun on the campus. On Sept. 10, Northview Intermediate School and adjacent Duarte High School, which are on the same campus, were placed on lockdown, according to deputies at the sheriff's Temple Station.
Cortez is suspected of making similar threats, all hoaxes, at schools in Monrovia, Duarte, and Arcadia.
"Investigators saw the obvious pattern ... a lot of people were frightened ... thousands were at least inconvenienced," Parker said. "People trying to go shopping were terrorized by these phone calls."
The FBI was among the agencies that took part in the investigation, along with police from Arcadia, Duarte, Glendora, Monrovia, Covina and West Covina.
Parker said "advanced technology" was used to track down the suspect, although he did not elaborate. He also said it was not immediately known if the suspect ever intended to carry out any of his threats.--City News Service and Local Editor Melanie C. Johnson contributed to this report.