SANTA ANA, Calif. Aug 1 2012– A college professor has been charged with arson after he’s accused of setting a series of fires this month at an Orange County high school and threatened to kill school officials and students after his son committed suicide, authorities said Tuesday.
Rainer Reinscheid, 48, is expected to appear in court Tuesday after he was charged with five counts of arson, one count of attempted arson and a misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing a police officer. If convicted, he faces up to nearly 13 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Reinscheid started five fires at University High School earlier this month where his son had attended and had been disciplined this past spring. The teen killed himself at a park preserve where his father allegedly committed the arsons.
Reinscheid was arrested last week and posted $50,000 bail.
On Friday, authorities found emails on Reinscheid’s cell phone they said described a plot to burn down the high school, commit sexual assaults and purchase weapons to murder school officials and students before killing himself.
Prosecutors said they believe Reinscheid was acting alone but it wasn’t clear if he was targeting anyone specifically.
“I can only at this point tell you, he laid out in sufficient detail plans to purchase guns and murder lots of people,” said Orange County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz.
Prosecutors are seeking no bail.
Reinscheid is a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of California, Irvine and has been there for about 12 years.
It wasn’t immediately known if Reinscheid had retained an attorney.