Blackwell Man pleads guilty to Federal charge; Admits to telephoning bomb threats to five Los Angeles schools

February 19, 2024 | Courts

LOS ANGELES, Cailf.  – A Blackwell man who grew up in Los Angeles pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge for telephoning bomb threats to five Los Angeles schools, including two elementary schools, and threatened to shoot the children as they exited one of the elementary schools.

Marcus Jamal Sanchez, 45, a.k.a. “Marcus James Buchanan,” pleaded guilty to one count of making a threat through interstate commerce to damage and destroy buildings by fire and explosives.

Sanchez, who was arrested in June 2022, has been free on bond since July 2022.

“Sanchez put children, teachers, and staff at risk through his reckless and irresponsible actions,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “Schools should be safe havens for our kids, and my office will use the force of federal law – when necessary – to prosecute individuals who threaten the educational safety of our young people.”

“The depraved act of making death threats to vulnerable schoolchildren is incomprehensible to most and will not be tolerated by the FBI, nor the American people,” said Amir Ehsaei, the Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “When threats such as these are reported, they must always be treated as credible and so they continue to drain valuable resources from law enforcement at the expense of the taxpayers who fund them.”

“The Los Angeles School Police Department’s commitment to the safety of our school communities is our top priority,” said Lieutenant Nina Buranasombati, LASPD spokesperson. “We are pleased with the significant step toward justice for the affected school communities. We sincerely appreciate the dedication and collaboration of all parties involved in the judicial process.”

According to his plea agreement, during a period of less than two hours on the morning of Feb. 28, 2022, Sanchez called in bomb threats to two elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school in Los Angeles. In a call to one of the elementary schools, Sanchez threatened to shoot the children as they exited the building.

On April 27 and 28, Sanchez made additional bomb threats to two of the Los Angeles schools he previously threatened, threatening to shoot and kill children at other schools. 

On the afternoon of April 27, Sanchez called an elementary school and said to a school employee, “There is a bomb at your school, and we will shoot the kids when they get out of the school. That is what you get for not accepting me in ’86,” according to his plea agreement.

After receiving the threat, the school staff notified police and placed the school on lockdown. Police searched the campus for explosives or unusual items but found none.

On April 28, Sanchez called the same school again and said there was a pipe bomb placed at the school’s address. After receiving the bomb threat, the school staff notified police and placed the school on lockdown. Police searched the campus for explosives or unusual items but found none.

That same day, Sanchez called a different elementary school and said, “Stop playing games; you know who this is. I am going to shoot the school. I know the kids are there.” Afterwards, the school was placed on lockdown, but – as with all the incidents – no explosives or unusual items were found.

United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton scheduled a June 7 sentencing hearing in this case, at which time Sanchez will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

The FBI and the Los Angeles School Police Department investigated this matter.

Assistant United State Attorney Jena A. MacCabe of the Violent and Organized Crime Section is prosecuting this case.