Marcus Karr, a 33-year-old computer science student, has been temporarily suspended from Cal Poly after being arrested in connection with a bomb threat made on a San Luis Obispo Transit bus on Jan. 6.
SLO Transit had to shut down bus services for the majority of the day. Cal Poly also sent out an email to faculty, staff and students about the bomb threat on campus.
Karr’s monologue was caught on video and led to his arrest the same day.
Electrical engineering sophomore Karl Kohlsaat was on the bus when Karr began speaking.
“The first thing I thought was that this was a teaser because he started off talking about how Shia Labeouf was sometimes an actor,” Kohlsaat said. “He then began saying he had reason to believe that there would be a bomb on one of the buses that would go off at the highest chance of destruction, which would be around the transit center most likely.”
Karr was seen getting off the bus in front of the Performing Arts Center. He wasn’t seen for the majority of the day as police investigated the threat. But Karr resurfaced in the afternoon and spoke to KSBY reporter Charlie Misra about the bomb threat.
“I was taken aback. I didn’t recognize him at first,” Misra said. “But when he told me he was the person who made the statements on the bus, I remembered the cellphone video taken by a bus rider that I watched earlier that morning.”
Misra notified police shortly after the confrontation. Karr was arrested in the Julian A. McPhee University Union and taken in for questioning. However, he was released later that evening with no charges.
Cal Poly’s administration proceeded with disciplinary action, according to university spokesperson Matt Lazier.
“Marcus Karr remains on interim suspension pending the university’s student conduct investigation,” Lazier said. “He has been issued a stay-away order that bars him from coming to campus.”
The incident has rattled some nerves amongst bus riders. Kohlsaat said he’s been more aware of his surroundings while riding the bus. But he said the incident on the bus will not significantly affect his daily life.
“I think the people in (San Luis Obispo) are generally level-headed, but anything is possible,” Kohlsaalt said. “Terrorism is everywhere and it could happen at any moment but living in fear isn’t something I try to do. I feel safe in (San Luis Obispo).”