Man sought for UNR threat arrested in Carson City
A Reno man wanted in connection with alledged threats that prompted the cancellation of classes at the University of Nevada, Reno was apprehended in Carson City Thursday night.
Michael James Sheriff, 27, was arrested about 10:30 p.m. off North Curry Street.
Sheriff was wanted by the Nevada Department of Parole and Probation on a no-bail probation violation related to a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon.
Earlier Thursday, classes at UNR were canceled and students were urged to leave the campus after Reno Police learned that Sheriff had referenced the shootings at Virginia Tech.
The Iraq-war Army veteran allegedly sent a text-message to a relative in which he said, “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, 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.
Reno officers recovered an empty gun holster from his home.
A family member said when he last spoke to Sheriff on Wednesday and urged him to surrender to authorities, Sheriff replied, “That is not an option.”
He then allegedly told the relative he would be unavailable because he would be on a “mission.”
Sheriff allegedly suffers from post-traumatic-stress disorder and mental illness.
In December 2005, he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon by Reno police.
“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,” said a release issued by the police before Sheriff was arrested.
An e-mail sent out to students at about 8 p.m. noted, “Faculty, staff and students are advised not to linger or loiter in open areas and are reminded to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity by calling 911.”
UNR issued the following statement:
“There have been no direct threats to the campus, however we must take a situation like this seriously. We initiated campus communication to cancel classes Thursday evening. This communication also includes a description and photo of the individual in question, and a reminder for faculty, staff and students to remain vigilant, report any suspicious activity and not linger outdoors.”