Man sought for UNR threat arrested in Carson City

A Reno probationer who allegedly made a statement in regard to the Virginia Tech shootings which prompted the cancellation of classes at the University of Nevada, Reno, was arrested at a Carson City motel on Thursday night.

Michael James Sheriff, 27, was captured after he jumped from a second-story bathroom window at the Roadway Inn.

Carson City Sheriff's Sgt. Earl Mays said Carson deputies were called to the motel at Carson and Park streets by Reno officers who had tracked Sheriff to the location. As Mays was taking up a position at the rear of the motel, he saw Sheriff jump, he said.

He said Sheriff then hopped a fence and was running west when Mays caught up to him and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint.

"He complied," said Mays. No weapons were found on Sheriff.

He is being held in the Carson City Jail without bail on a probation violation.

Classes at the university were canceled Thursday night and students were urged to leave the campus after Reno Police learned Sheriff, known to carry a weapon, had referenced the shootings at Virginia Tech in a text-message to a relative.

The Iraq-war Army veteran allegedly stated in the text-message, "The Korean is my hero," an apparent reference to the gunman in the Virginia Tech shooting rampage in which 32 people were killed, according to a news release from the Reno Police Department.

In the past Sheriff, who is a former UNR student and allegedly suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, has "indicated anger and frustration with those who are unappreciative of his efforts and service to his country," the release states.

Family members contacted Reno police on Wednesday expressing concern that he might have become unstable; however no specific threat or target has been expressed other than the text message.

Officers were unsuccessful in attempting to locate Sheriff on Thursday night at his home, but they did recover an empty gun holster, according to the Reno Police Department press release.

According to police, when a family member urged Sheriff to surrender, he replied, "That is not an option."

Sheriff then allegedly told the relative he would be unavailable for a few days because he would be on a "mission."

Sheriff allegedly has a history of mental illness.

In December 2005, he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon by Reno police. And in March, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail on a charge of drunken driving.

"Recent comments coupled with his mental illness raise concern. There is no information related to a specific threat, target or planned hostile action by Mr. Sheriff," the release states.


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