Santa Cruz Man Arrested After Posting Online Threat to UCSC

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The same night an anonymous post on the “UCSC Confessions” Facebook page threatened Porter and Oakes colleges, UC Santa Cruz Police Department (UCSC PD) officers arrested Ayman Kareem Hawari, 25, at his residence on Pacific Ave in connection with the post.

UCSC PD Chief Nader Oweis said he received a tip from a parent who saw the post Wednesday night, and officers worked backward to locate who they believed posted the threat. Oweis said evidence was found to prove Hawari wrote the post. The post “referenced creating explosives, homicide, suicide and a past university shooting,” according to the Community Crime Bulletin released this morning.

Hawari was arrested on suspicion of making threats — a felony — and resisting arrest. The crime bulletin specified terrorist threats, but Oweis clarified there’s legally no difference between criminal threats and terrorist threats. He remains in jail as of Wednesday evening. According to arrest logs, Hawari was previously arrested twice within the last year in Santa Cruz — most recently in March for vandalism.

The post, which was troubling and at times seemingly rambling, outlined feelings of loneliness, compounded by a lack of friendships and relationships. Financially and emotionally frustrated, he wrote that he wanted to die, and repeatedly tried to get “5150”ed, which is involuntary psychiatric hold for people suspected to suffer from mental illness, and pose as a danger to oneself and/or others. Multiple of Hawari’s Facebook friends confirmed previous suicidal posts by him as well.

Alternating between threats to himself and others, the post said “it’s only a matter of time” before an incident like the mass shooting at UC Santa Barbara last year, happens at UCSC. In May 2014 at UCSB, a young man who felt romantically and socially isolated killed six students. In the anonymous post, Hawari wrote that he felt similar feelings of isolation, and has dealt with mental illness for 10 years. A few students who know Hawari and spoke with City on a Hill Press didn’t know about his history struggling with mental illness.

While Oweis said officers officers have found no connection between Hawari and the campus, multiple students said he participated in “Ambience at UCSC,” despite not being a UCSC student.

Oweis couldn’t confirm any more details surrounding the ongoing investigation, and said “reports such as these are taken very seriously and investigated to the fullest extent.”