Arraignment for armed-felon alleged to have threatened Norco College postponed
NORCO — A Norco felon who was arrested three days ago after allegedly posting “credible threats” to “shoot up” Norco College and was scheduled to be arraigned in Riverside today had his arraignment postponed until next month.
While law enforcement officials from at least six local, state and federal agencies continue building their case, additional details regarding their ongoing investigation have come to light through Superior Court records as well as those familiar with or connected to the investigation.
According to sheriff’s officials and court records, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies from the Norco Sheriff’s Office received a tip Monday morning, Feb. 19, that 27-year-old Jacob Ryan McBain had been using Facebook to make threats from his Norco residence. Those threats reportedly included that McBain intended on shooting people at the Norco College campus.
The campus, which has about 13,000 enrolled students, is located about three miles from McBain’s home on the 5000 block of Trail Street, west of River Road and Corydon Street.
A later search of McBain’s Facebook profile, which he was still posting to just hours before his arrest, revealed his profile was peppered with anti-law enforcement posts and comments and rants against President Trump’s administration as well as weapon and gun-related memes and random poems. That search did not reveal any of the alleged threats, which sources say were made and sent via Facebook’s private messenger service.
As the “detailed and expansive” investigation was getting underway, Norco Sheriff’s officials brought in the Sheriff’s Special Investigation Bureau and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Bernardino Police Department and Naval Criminal Investigative Services – as well as Riverside College District Police and other criminal investigative organizations, who all assisted with the investigation.
Although school was not in session due to President’s Day, local school district and college officials were also notified regarding the investigation and say they made immediate plans to beef up security at their schools for the following week.
Based on information collected during the investigation, Sheriff’s officials authored and obtained a search warrant for McBain’s Norco home and they served the warrant later the same evening. During the service of the search warrant, officials located and detained McBain for further investigation.
According to online jail records, McBain was arrested about 8:30 p.m., less than 11 hours after the Sheriff’s investigation began. He was booked into jail about five hours later, on the morning of Jan. 20.
During their subsequent search officials located and seized a loaded, AR-15 style “assault rifle,” several loaded handguns and a “large amount of ammunition.” Court records indicated McBain was in possession of several hundred rounds of ammunition, including ammunition for .223, .45 and .40 caliber as well as 9mm weapons.
Those and other items related to their investigation were reportedly found inside McBain’s bedroom and seized as evidence, and have become a focal point of the Sheriff’s investigation and the charges brought against him.
McBain’s charges include being a felon in possession of an assault weapon, two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, three counts of being a felon in possession of ammunition, two counts of terrorist threats and conspiracy to commit a felony.
Since McBain’s arrest, some of his friends have begun to come forward and show their support of the man who now sits in jail awaiting arraignment.
Colby Strebe – who owns the Norco home where the alleged suspect lives and was arrested – told ABC7 News that McBain works for him as a live-in housekeeper and he had “never observed a hint of violence” in McBain.
In an interview with Casper News, Strebe explained, “He’s not a bad guy, he’s not a violent guy. He’s actually very quiet. He’s just a good guy.”
Also, according to Strebe, the weapons officials seized during the service of their search warrant belonged to him.
“Those were my weapons,” Strebe told ABC7 News. “They were all legal, everything was good on them. It was just because it was in the house they considered it he had access to them.”
In spite of Strebe’s claims of owning the weapons, as a felon who was convicted in 2012 in Washington state of second-degree theft, McBain is prohibited from possessing or having direct access to firearms, ammunition or certain other weapons. Because the prohibited items were found inside a bedroom used by McBain, his immediate access to the weapons and ammunition is relevant to his charges, not who owns the items.
McBain’s next-door neighbor, identified only as Shirley, later described the moment officials served of the search warrant, telling Casper News, “They looked like a SWAT Team to me.”
Describing the incident as “scary,” Shirley said law enforcement officials had “big rifles” and ordered her to go back into her home after she had come out to see what all the commotion was at her next-door neighbor’s house.
Asked how well she knew McBain or if she ever saw him prior to McBain’s arrest, Shirley said she and her husband had seen the alleged suspect on previous occasions and that her husband had even said hello to McBain a couple of times.” However, according to Shirly, McBain never responded and “just ignored him.”
One major aspect of the Sheriff’s ongoing investigation is the allegation of criminal conspiracy against McBain. Authorities have yet to publicly name McBain’s alleged co-conspirator(s) and different sources have indicated officials are still working to identify one or more people who had knowledge of McBain’s stated intentions to conduct a mass, school shooting.
According to a Riverside County District Attorney’s Office filing, McBain was believed to have shared or discussed his threats and plans with at least one other person on Facebook messenger.
Superior Court records indicated officials are still working to identify anyone else who might have been involved with or known about McBain’s threats.
After his arrest, McBain was booked at Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, where he remains in custody, held on $1 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned at Riverside Hall of Justice, March 8.
The Sheriff’s investigation is active and ongoing and officials have asked that anyone with any information regarding this investigation to contact Deputy Robertson of the Norco Sheriff’s Office at (951) 270-5673. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.
John and Nancy Casper/Casper News video
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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.