UPDATE: Professor Allegedly Plotted Wild Murder Spree at Irvine School

Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, who teaches at UC Irvine, is charged with multiple counts of arson. But authorities say he had far more sinister plans in mind.

UPDATE: UCI professor Rainer Klaus Reinscheid will remain in custody without bail, a judge ruled Tuesday afternoon.

Reinscheid, who is accused of setting several small fires, also had his arraignment postponed to Aug. 8. Authorities say Reinscheid also plotted to sexually assault and kill administrators and students at University High School in Irvine, which his son attended before committing suicide in May.

Dressed in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit, Reinscheid appeared to be chewing gum or tobacco while he sat in a chain-link holding tank and waited for the judge to address his case.

After the proceedings, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz spoke to reporters on the northern side of the jail. 

"We clearly see him as a significant danger to public safety,” Katz said.

According to Katz, investigators found emails on Reinscheid’s cell phone that allegedly detailed his plan to murder the “unnamed students and named administrators” that he blamed for his son’s suicide.

In the emails, Reinscheid allegedly targeted three locations: Mason Park Reserve, where Reinscheid’s son killed himself; University High School, where Reinscheid’s son went to school; and the home of one of the high school administrators.

The emails contained "graphic depictions" of alleged planned sex acts and acts of violence, as well as a plan to burn down the school and then kill himself. 

“They (the plans) were graphic, and they were specific,” Katz said.

“We believe that it (the threat) was credible enough to want to keep him in custody,” added Farrah Emami, Orange County district attorney spokeswoman. 

Katz said the suicide of Reinscheid's son allegedly followed a school disciplinary matter, although Katz said he couldn't confirm the "nature of the discipline" and that authorities were looking into matters at the school.

Reinscheid’s emails haven't been released and authorities said they had no details about when that may happen.


A 48-year-old college professor who police believe was planning a rape and murder spree at a high school should not be released on bail, prosecutors plan to argue Tuesday in court.

Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, who teaches at UC Irvine, is accused of a rash of arsons. Reinscheid allegedly set items on fire at University High School in Irvine, at the home of a school administrator, and in Mason Park Preserve. 

After arresting Reinscheid on July 24, police allegedly discovered "violent" emails the UCI professor sent detailing plans to sexually assault and murder students and administrators at University High, burn down the school and kill himself, according to the Orange County District Attorney.

According to the District Attorney, Reinscheid’s 14-year-old son, who attended University High, was disciplined at school sometime in March. Sometime after, the teenage committed suicide in Mason Park Preserve in Irvine.

For a twenty-day stretch in July, Reinscheid is accused of setting a slew of objects on fire, including newspapers, fireplace logs, brush and vegetation, a book and a plastic porch chair. 

Irvine police arrested Reinscheid at 12:40 a.m. on July 24 in Mason Park Preserve, where he was allegedly trying to set a fire in the park with newspapers and lighter fluid.

Officers from Irvine Police Department, who were conducting increased patrols of the park because of the recent arsons, spotted Reinscheid and arrested him. He allegedly attempted to resist arrest. Later that day, Reinscheid posted $50,000 bail and was released from custody.

As the Irvine Police Department continued investigating, detectives found emails on Reinscheid's cellphone to his wife and one to himself in April.

According to the DA, the emails detail his plan to burn down University High School, commit sexual assaults, buy guns and murder school officials and students, and then kill himself.

Following the discovery of the emails and evidence allegedly linking the professor to additional arsons, Irvine police arrested Reinscheid again Friday evening.

Reinscheid "poses a serious threat to the community if released from custody," said the DA in a statement, and should be "held without bail in light of the dangerous, violent nature of his private e-mails."

According to his UCI profile, Reinscheid is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Professional associations include membership in the Society for Neuroscience, International Narcotics Research Conference, International Neuroendocrine Federation and Sleep Research Society.

Among his listed research interests are psychiatric disorders, neurophysiology and molecular pharmacology.

Authorities believe Reinscheid acted alone.

"We don't have any evidence that anyone else was involved in the arsons or plans to commit murder at the high school," said Farrah Emami, DA spokesperson. "It's clear that he was targeting certain places and people. It was thanks to the good work of the Irvine Police Department that they discovered the emails in which he laid out plans to commit murder."

Reinscheid is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Santa Ana. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison.

Anyone with additional information or who believes they have had suspicious contact with the defendant is asked to leave a message on the DA’s special investigations hotline at (714) 347-8544.

Jamie Andrews August 01, 2012 at 08:03 AM
I definitely was not condoning his actions, and I do believe that people in this state of confusion and psychosis WOULD carry out the actions he planned. I am very glad they caught him when they did. I just think it's sad that someone who was obviously a productive and "normal" man just last year has slid this far down into the depths of mental disease. It's easy to say "fry him" if you've never been around someone who has lost their mind. I don't think anyone knows how they'd react if their child committed suicide, I know I would have a hard time keeping a grip on reality (although it is very unlikely I'd turn violent). He probably had a pre-disposition to mental illness, and his son's death pushed him over the edge. Very sad indeed, have some compassion. People who suffer traumatic losses like this should be monitored more closely by mental health professionals, you never know what will push someone over the edge.
Jamie Andrews August 01, 2012 at 08:06 AM
My heart goes out to his wife... Can you imagine losing your son and your husband in one year? Horrible.
Lon Uso August 01, 2012 at 02:56 PM
He needs help, i hope he gets it during his 12 year prison term
Dan Avery August 01, 2012 at 03:11 PM
And how likely is that Lon? Or weren't you being sincere?
Lon Uso August 01, 2012 at 03:14 PM
that he will get help or that he will go to prison?
Accountable father August 01, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Jamie, as a father I have compassion for his and his wife's loss of their son. I could not even imagine loosing either of my kids, the thought makes me tear up, however that being said, I don't know how I would react but what I do know for sure is I would not set fires in parks or plan on raping or killing anyone. I still have a loving wife and another child that I would have to live on for. I fully agree that when a traumatic event like that happens there should be a way to monitor behavior. But even more so there had to be an underlying mental illness that we should find a way to diagnose early in life so it never has to come to this
Lindsey Hanson August 01, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Fry him???? HE hasn't done anything. Thank God the authorities were able to save his intended victims and save this poor man from himself. I am so glad he is off the streets, but fry him? Really?
Dan Avery August 01, 2012 at 04:42 PM
That he'll get help in prison
Dan Avery August 01, 2012 at 04:44 PM
But, like you say, you don't know how you'd act or how'd it would affect you. So you don't know for sure what you'd do. You'd like to think that you wouldn't do any harm. But you can't know that for sure until you've gone through it.
Frank August 01, 2012 at 05:33 PM
My son attends Uni High. Just so everone knows, this guy's son committed suicide mostly because he was bullied daily by upper classmen for months and no one at the school did anything meaningful to help him. He was a smaller framed freshman that had a difficult time adjusting in high school. of course right after the suicide, the usual Monday morning quarterbacking took place and the 14 year old's classmates said they should have reported the incidents, the adminitrators held workshops on bulliyng behavior being unacceptable etc...This is an important part of th story that has been missing in all the recent reports regarding the father. There is always more to any story and I am sure we will learn much more about this one as well.
Peter Schelden (Editor) August 01, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Frank, it sounds like you've got a close connection to the events of the son's suicide. I wonder what your reaction is to this quote from Irvine Police Lt. and spokeswoman Julia Engen? "“We interviewed parents, and we interviewed his friends, and there was no bullying."
Patricia Gatacre August 01, 2012 at 06:21 PM
The police and/or justice system should not help this grieving father punish himself. He's already experiencing incredible pain over the loss of his son. I wonder if the boy felt he could tell his father about his situation at school or was his suicide an unexpected act. I was disciplined often as a young student and never entertained the idea of suicide or violence toward anyone or anything. What had happened to this boy that would make him so vulnerable at the age of 14 and what method he chose might be indicative of what problems led to his inappropriate solution. My husband and I are graduates of UCI and speak very highly of the superior education we received there. We're saddened that this man is not in grief counseling FIRST rather than be facing 12 years in prison. A continuing question: where was his wife when all this took place? She too is grieving and should receive counseling through the University or ? Likewise any siblings. Grief is a closed circle that can benefit from the input of a trained psychologist. Our sympathies go out to the entire family.
Lon Uso August 01, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Most modern prisons have mental health services, as a mater of fact, most inmates get better health services than our working poor. beyond that, lots of people loose children prematurely. think of all the parents of 18 year old soldiers that have died in war. it is not an excuse for killing and raping.should we let him go free and hope he gets help before killing one of our loved ones? what ever happened to taking responsibility in this culture of ours? it always seems to be someone else's fault. Perhaps we should let that murderer in Colorado go free because he didn't mean it and someone was mean to him.
Shripathi Kamath August 01, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Perhaps Sarah and Paige can unearth these parents and friends that were interviewed and find out how many, and if there were others like Frank who were not asked or were asked and might have been left out from reports.
Frank August 01, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Peter, honestly, I was not close to the events other than what I heard when the student committed suicide. All that was brought up by the school and his classmates (through my son) at that time was that he was a vicitim of bullying. In fact, the bullying of this student seemed abundantly clear and unquestioned. I never heard about this disciplinary action against this student by the school until this week. I just cannot imagine any of the students denying that he was bullied considering that info was widespread.
Dan Avery August 01, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Not that's interesting. And it wouldn't be the first time a school changed it's story the minute the bad press started. One has to ask how the bullying got so far in the first place.
Lon Uso August 01, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I hate bullies, i was brutally bullied in school. i was the egghead, the small guy and it seemed that i had a huge target on my back. the one thing i had going for me was my family, they supported me, defended me and encouraged me to learn to protect myself both verbally and physically, in other words, to stand up for myself regardless of the consequences. we need to discourage and sometimes punish bullies although you might find that their training also begins at home. again, where is the personal responsibility for these actions both for the kids and the parents.
Stan Jacobs August 01, 2012 at 08:44 PM
There is a connection here! Most shooting sprees and wild outbursts were committed on campus or by college students at off-campus sites. Instead of attacking guns the matter could better be resolved by investigating the cause of these mental aberrations acted out by people who appear to possess a normal to high level of intelligence. The past three decades have revealed an obvious connection between campus (high school and college) stress that ignites extremely violent behavior. Why has this not been addressed?
Peter Schelden (Editor) August 01, 2012 at 09:40 PM
That's an interesting question, Stan. What does everyone else think? Can school stress lead to violence?
Accountable father August 02, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Peter not unless a person has underlying mental issues.
Lon Uso August 02, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Well said accountable
Accountable father August 02, 2012 at 01:05 AM
By the way there is a big difference between a kid being bullied finally having enough and using violence against the bully with his fists, and someone shooting up a school because he was bullied
Lon Uso August 02, 2012 at 03:15 AM
So true,
Dan Avery August 02, 2012 at 07:22 PM
"If my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine, but it's all right Ma, it's life, and life only."
Robert Curtis August 02, 2012 at 08:22 PM
That's just a lot of media hype about him wanting to rape and murder. Think about it the guy's a professor that lost his son. If he was serious he would have actually blown up the school. The reason he got caught was because he wanted to get caught. I see this as a man's cry for help not terror. It takes any half wit to commit terror anywhere if he's willing to pay the price. Like these registered sex offender laws, they do nothing but give cops more to do and hand out a false sense of security. Who worries me are all those out there on anti-psychotic drugs. Like the guy that shot up a salon in Seal Beach. Those people should be the ones watched.
Lon Uso August 02, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Dan, we all have bad thoughts now and then, the difference is that most of us don't act on them. this guy was setting fires, he was getting primed up for something bad. Don't you wish you could have gotten to the guy in Colorado before he hurt so many people? a jury of his peers will now decide what the consequences are for his actions.
Dan Avery August 02, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Well, gee, Lon, I think Dylan's whole point is that we can't get to them. We can't know what's going on in someone's head. But, sure, we can lock up people for thinking stuff which it appears is what you're suggesting. I see the guy setting fires as wanting to get caught. Notice how they were all small and no one was hurt? Do I think he's a danger to others? Sure. I think each one of us is a danger to others. Most of us manage to control it. I've been where this guy has been...writing down violent fantasies...read my post over at the MV Patch...http://missionviejo.patch.com//blog_posts/dead-men-tell-no-tales#comment_4204468 I do wish we could stop these nuts. Better gun laws would really help. I wish they could have stopped the guy who set my sister and my niece on fire in a grocery store. But heck Reagan closed all the mental hospitals. Said we didn't need that level of a safety net or some other political bs for I'm selfish. So now they are on the streets windmilling their arms for the entire world to see and sometimes they buy a bunch of guns. But we don't want social programs do we?
Lon Uso August 03, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Dan, chill brother, i am not the thought police. i do believe that we have to stop making excuses for people that do bad things. its not the sugar in their diet or dad whipping them for being bad. A lot of people go through hell in their lives and find ways of coping. Some find religion, some find a sense of purpose that gets them through without starting fires, raping or killing. Some just cant find their way alone and need help but they first have to search for and accept that help. As a society we need to prioritize what social programs we can provide. if we all think that housing all mentally ill people is important we can encourage our representatives to do that but what we can't do is to be everything to everybody, there is not enough money in the whole world to run a truly socialist society for very long. i think most people are coming to grips with that in this economy and with this president. at some point in time you run out of hard working peoples money to take care of those that wont take care of themselves. BTW, if you are truly having these violent fantasies, are you getting professional help? think about it my friend.
Joaquin De Murrieta October 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM
YOu see your sense of poor judgement and poor lack of understanding leaves me to belive that you have very little mercy for someone who just lost a child. Which in turn as the Bible says " Those who show very little mercy God will show you little mercy when its your turn" Those who have not sinned throw the first stone " Or Frying pan in your case"
Joaquin De Murrieta October 12, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Frank your a God Send...The people we need to fry are the the upper freshmen and those parents..Along with that Bastard Vice Principle for letting it go on..Its them we need to fry..Its always the system that protects the system..Stop doing that..We need to crush out those who belittle others.


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