A 22-year-old former Oregon State University student accused of posting tweets on Tuesday threatening a shooting on OSU’s Corvallis campus was on probation for making similar threats last year, a prosecutor in the case said Wednesday.
In the new case, Christopher Adam Strahan is charged with menacing, first-degree disorderly conduct and second-degree disorderly conduct. All the charges are misdemeanors.
Strahan appeared in court Wednesday via videoconference from the Benton County Jail. His attorney, Daniel Armstrong, entered not guilty pleas to the charges on his client's behalf.
In February 2017, authorities charged Strahan with menacing and second-degree disorderly conduct for threatening to shoot and kill people on Oregon State University property, according to court records. In that case, Strahan pleaded guilty to second-degree disorderly conduct. A judge sentenced Strahan to 20 days in jail and three years of bench probation.
For violating his probation by committing the alleged new crimes, Strahan should be held in jail without bail pending a hearing regarding his release, Benton County Circuit Court Judge David Connell ordered. The judge set Strahan’s next hearing for March 8.
Armstrong entered a denial to the allegation his client violated his probation.
Connell imposed $100,000 security for the new charges. Should Strahan be released, the judge forbade Strahan from having any contact with OSU and its students and staff, possessing weapons, possessing or using intoxicants, and using social media.
University and law enforcement officials were alerted about noon Tuesday of the threatening tweets posted by username “Hard Belly Dorm,” according to Oregon State Police. Detectives identified Strahan as the owner of the Twitter username, according to a statement from OSP. Police arrested Strahan about two hours later outside a residence in Corvallis.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Ryan Joslin said police searched Strahan's residence following his arrest and did not find any firearms.
"Whether this turns out to be a legitimate threat or a hoax, we take these matters very seriously as a risk to our community," Joslin said.
Steve Clark, Oregon State’s vice president for university relations and marketing, spoke at the court hearing. Clark called the incident a senseless and tasteless act that caused concern not only for the OSU community in Corvallis but for family members throughout the country.
"While there was not an immediate active shooter on campus, we felt it important to inform the community of Oregon State about this," Clark said.
He said the university also increased public safety patrols on campus.
"We feel that our student body reacted with both concern for their own personal safety and the safety of the university and Corvallis community," Clark said. "Many stayed away from classes. We've heard of students choosing not to take tests. Now that is anecdotal, but I have to think that given the statements made that these were real concerns."
Clark said the university monitors social media accounts of members of the OSU community. He said the university would start searching around the clock for threatening keywords such as the ones Strahan allegedly used in order to flag threats.
Clark said the university was aware of the threats made by Strahan last year. Citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Clark said he could not disclose what actions the university may have taken against Strahan for the incident.
Strahan was enrolled as a student at OSU from fall term 2014 through winter term 2017, Clark said. Strahan’s major was food science technology with a minor in chemistry, he said. Strahan was a junior when he left OSU.
Clark encouraged anyone with safety concerns to call OSU's Public Safety Department at 541-737-7000.