Former ARC student arrested for threatening to attack the campus claims innocence

Former+American+River+College+student+Kristofer+Clark%2C+21%2C+was+booked+into+the+Sacramento+County+Jail+on+Oct.+8+after+allegedly+making+a+threat+against+the+college%27s+main+campus%2C+according+to+police.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+the+Los+Rios+Police+Department%29

Former American River College student Kristofer Clark, 21, was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on Oct. 8 after allegedly making a threat against the college's main campus, according to police. (Photo courtesy of the Los Rios Police Department)

John Ferrannini and Matthew Peirson

By John Ferrannini and Matthew Peirson

After he was arrested Thursday for making what police said was a credible threat against ARC’s main campus, former ARC student Kristofer Wayne Clark, 21, protested his innocence.

“I’m hoping they (the police) got my name wrong … I felt angry because I didn’t understand what was going on,” said Clark in an interview with ABC10 News. “I wanted answers but nobody was giving them to me. All I’m thinking is ‘what’s going on.’ ”

Clark said that he was accused of saying to a woman he was hugging that the school was going to “be blown up.”

“They said that the female was hugged and told not to go to school today (Friday),” said Clark. “I would never make a threat to harm another human being.”

Clark was arrested at approximately 6:10 p.m. on Thursday at the McDonalds where he worked on Fair Oaks Boulevard near Manzanita Avenue, about three miles from the campus.

“It was very embarrassing,” said Clark. “There’s no way a manager would keep an employee who was arrested on site.”

Vanessa, a McDonalds employee who declined to give a last name, said Clark had only been working there for one month but described him as a “great kid.”

“Honestly, (he is) very happy, peppy, works really hard, works really great with the customers,” she said.

I hate all the shootings going on. I understand why the police got me but I hope that they find the real person. – Kristofer Clark

Clark was an ARC student as recently as the fall 2014 semester, but said that he is currently on academic probation. Clark still visits friends on campus.

ARC President Thomas Greene held a joint press conference with Los Rios Police Department Capt. John McPeek Friday afternoon. According to Greene, a student told a faculty member about a threat from Clark. 

The faculty member, in turn, told the Los Rios police. (story continues below)

American River College President Thomas Greene, left, and Los Rios Police Department Capt. John McPeek address members of the media following the arrest Thursday of Kristofer Wayne Clark, 21, for allegedly threatening to carry out an attack on the ARC main campus. McPeek said the threat was deemed credible and that weapons were found inside Clark's home. (Photo by Barbara Harvey)
American River College President Thomas Greene, left, and Los Rios Police Department Capt. John McPeek address members of the media following the arrest Thursday of Kristofer Wayne Clark, 21, for allegedly threatening to carry out an attack on the ARC main campus. McPeek said the threat was deemed credible and that weapons were found inside Clark’s home. (Photo by Barbara Harvey)

“The student had the courage to say something and the faculty member immediately reported it,” said Greene. “The suspect has a hold placed on their record and will not be allowed on this campus until the threat has been properly assessed.”

McPeek said that the officers conducted a search of Clark’s family home.

“We did conduct a search of the home and found weapons,” said McPeek. “They were not registered to him.”

Greene tied the student and faculty response to the threat to his campus safety initiative.

“Campus safety is a shared responsibility,” said Greene. “When people take this responsibility seriously, as we have done this week, we create an environment that encourages teaching and learning.”

The college and the police did not release the names of the student who made the allegation against Clark or of the faculty member who reported it.

Honestly, just being around him (Clark) and experiencing him around other people, I’m not surprised. – Kyra Pigford, ARC student

Those who know Clark have different perceptions of him.

ARC student Kyle Joyce said that whoever reported Clark must not have known him well.

“He would never really do it, he just doesn’t think before speaking a lot,” said Joyce. “It’s just how he is. If you ever needed help, you went to him. If he told someone that, he might have been angry, but no threat.

“I stand by this man and his good character.”

ARC student Kyra Pigford said that when she found out Clark had been arrested for making threats, she was “not surprised.”

“I was like ‘there’s something very off about this person.’ You can just kind of tell,” said Pigford. “Honestly, just being around him and experiencing him around other people, I’m not surprised.”

Pigford said that Clark often joked about sexual assault and “would say random things just to get attention.”

“The way you make friends is not by saying stuff like ‘I’m going to rape you,’” said Pigford. “I don’t know if he needs guidance or mental health or if it’s his personality, but that’s no way to act in public.”

Josh Lowy said he worked with Joyce at Camp Winthers, a summer camp northwest of Lake Tahoe. Lowy said that Clark might have been bullied because he is gay.

“He definitely had the persona which people would maybe bully him for,” Lowy said.

Clark’s Facebook profile picture depicts a cartoon character with a bomb on strapped to his torso. Clark said that the picture has nothing to do with the allegation he’s facing. 

“It (the profile picture) is from Minecraft,” said Clark. “It’s a creature called a creeper which, yes, does explode when it gets near … It’s been on my Facebook page for years. It’s just an adorable character I found.” (story continues below)

A screengrab of Clark's Facebook profile picture shows a drawing of a man with a suicide vest. Clark said that the picture has nothing to do with the charges against him. (Screenshot from Facebook)
A screengrab of Clark’s Facebook profile picture shows a drawing of a man with a suicide vest. Clark said that the picture has nothing to do with the charges against him. (Screenshot from Facebook)

Clark’s Facebook page also included a comment of sympathy for the victims of the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado that killed 12 people in a movie theater.

“Apparently, there was a meeting this week about how to prevent shootings,” said Clark. “I hate all the shootings going on. I understand why the police got me but I hope that they find the real person.”

Clark was saving money to return to ARC next year. He said he has considered becoming a teacher.

Barbara Harvey and Kameron Schmid contributed to this report.