A police report released Thursday provides details on a 2017 case in which an Oregon State University student posted on Twitter threatening to “shoot up campus.”
The student, Christopher Strahan, has since left OSU. He was arrested in Corvallis on Tuesday for allegedly posting new tweets threatening a shooting at the university. He is being held in the Benton County Jail without bail pending a hearing set for March 8.
Oregon State Police troopers arrested Strahan on Feb. 17, 2017, after a person reported to police that someone she knew was posting threatening tweets. Troopers learned of Strahan’s address and went to his apartment. Strahan was not armed when police contacted him, the police report states. According to the report, Strahan smelled of alcohol and appeared to be impaired. Troopers searched Strahan’s apartment and did not find any firearms, the report states.
When asked why the OSU community wasn’t alerted to the threats in the 2017 case, university spokesperson Steve Clark said that by the time university officials were made aware of the threats, police had already taken Strahan into custody. In the most recent case, OSU alerted the community on Tuesday that law enforcement was searching for someone who had posted threatening tweets; at the time the alert went out on Tuesday, Strahan had not been arrested.
According to the 2017 report, Strahan had previously been placed on police officer holds by the Corvallis Police Department. Oregon law allows police officers to take a person into custody for a mental health evaluation if they believe the person is a danger to themself or others. The report did not elaborate on those incidents.
When interviewed by police following the 2017 arrest, Strahan said he “had been pretty out of it for the past 18 hours” and wasn’t aware of the recent threatening tweets he had posted but remembered posting previous threatening tweets, according to the report.
During the interview, Strahan referenced Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old man who killed six people and injured many others near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus in 2014, the report states. Strahan said Rodger would post outlandish things on the internet, but that he was different from Rodger because he never intended to act on the things he posted on Twitter, according to the report.
When police asked Strahan if he felt like he had been wronged by anyone at OSU, Strahan said “absolutely not,” the report states. He said he had been a student at the school for three years and that he got along well with everyone. He told police he hoped to graduate from OSU and then go to graduate school, “so he doesn’t want to do the awful things that he tweets about,” according to the report.
Strahan told police he had considered buying a handgun for personal protection the previous month, the report states. He said he went to a gun store and put down a deposit on a Glock 35. However, Strahan had a pending domestic violence case against him in Marion County stemming from an alleged assault on his father, according to the report. Therefore, there was a hold on his purchase and Strahan withdrew the deposit, the report states.
Authorities said police searched Strahan's residence following his arrest on Tuesday and did not find any firearms.
For the 2017 case, authorities charged Strahan with menacing and second-degree disorderly conduct, according to court records. Strahan pleaded guilty to second-degree disorderly conduct and a judge sentenced Strahan to 20 days in jail and three years of bench probation.
In the domestic violence case, Strahan entered a mental health court diversion program on Dec. 7, 2017, for charges of fourth-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief. The 18-month program required him to undergo a diagnostic assessment. It also required him to seek and maintain mental health treatment and take any recommended psychiatric medications.
For the new alleged threats, Strahan is charged with menacing, first-degree disorderly conduct and second-degree disorderly conduct. Strahan also is facing a pending charge for allegedly driving under the influence of intoxicants in November 2017.