Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ) — A former University of Maryland student entered a guilty plea to threatening to go on a campus shooting rampage.
Rochelle Ritchie was at Tuesday’s hearing.
The 19-year-old honor student is spending more time in the courtroom than the classroom after threatening to kill enough people to make national news.
Alexander Song blames mental illness for his threats to kill thousands of people on the University of Maryland College Park campus.
“We now have Mr. Song under the jurisdiction of the courts and we are pleased as well that he is in mental health court,” said State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks.
At the Prince George’s County District Court, Song entered a guilty plea. In exchange, he will be required to have a 9 p.m. curfew, perform 200 hours of community service and be on supervised probation for three years.
Some call the punishment a slap on the wrist.
“That’s real sickening and real crazy. You shouldn’t have those type of people on the street,” said one.
In March, the former honor student from Howard County let his fingers do the talking as he posted his threats onto social media websites, typing, “I will be on a shooting rampage tomorrow on campus.” “Stay away from the mall tomorrow at 1:30.” “Hopefully, I kill enough people to make it to national news.”
“I mean, it’s scary. You hear about things like Virginia Tech and shootings at schools around the country,” said one student.
It took police 12 hours to find Song after receiving numerous phone calls about a student making disturbing threats online. He was traced through the Internet and ultimately to his dorm room. A search of his room and car led to no weapons being found. A possible mass killing similar to Virginia Tech was thwarted because people spoke up.
“If you see something, say something–which was done in the case and led us to the arrest of Mr. Song,” said College Park Police Chief David Mitchell.
The State’s Attorney is hoping this case, as well as the recent shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, encourage laws to be changed in Maryland.
“We will go before the General Assembly in January and hopefully they will consider legislation to make it a crime in Maryland to make generalized threats,” said Alsobrooks.
In court, Song pleaded guilty to one count of disturbing activities at a school or college and two counts of misuse of telephone facilities or equipment. The state believes he is not a threat to society.
He will be required to continue mental health evaluations.