In a case that has alarmed parents in the Harbor Area, prosecutors on Friday filed criminal charges against a man who asked a passer-by outside a San Pedro park: “Do you want to blow up some children?”
Delbert Steele’s alleged statements on Wednesday near the Bogdanovich Recreation Center parking lot sparked frayed nerves on social media sites, including Facebook and NextDoor, but little information was released by the police until Friday afternoon.
Steele, 48, appeared for arraignment Friday in Long Beach court, where he pleaded not guilty to one felony count of making criminal threats. He was held on $100,000 bail and ordered to return to court May 1, said prosecutors with the District Attorney’s Office.
Detectives were unavailable Friday to discuss whether Steele actually intended to carry out the alleged threat or if he could, or if he had access to explosives.
According to police, Steele allegedly approached the passer-by about 1 p.m. Wednesday, asking, “Do you want to blow up some children? Do you want to be on TV?”
Los Angeles police officers responded to the reported threat to kill children, but could not locate Steele. At the same time, police said, the man’s statement began spreading among parents and onto social media sites.
A preschool at Bogdanovich Recreation Center was locked down and parents were notified.
“A short time later a private citizen located the suspect in his vehicle in the area of 25th Street and Western (Avenue,)” police said in a statement. “The citizen blocked the vehicle in with her vehicle and called police. Officers…
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