Death threat investigation stymied; SHPD asks for public’s assistance

By Nick Diamantides
Staff Writer

The Signal Hill Police Department (SHPD) is asking the public’s help in identifying the person who sent an apparent death threat to Signal Hill Mayor Ed Wilson via email several weeks ago. “Our detectives concluded their investigation, and they took the case to the (Los Angeles County District Attorney) D.A.’s Office for a finding,” said SHPD Lieutenant Mike Reid. “During their investigation, they could not get specific information as to the ownership of [the email address], which would have given us a suspect.”
Reid said that currently the SHPD has not positively identified the suspect in the case. He explained that, because of interconnected networks on the Internet, proving that someone has sent a specific email is not as easy as it may seem.
“The case will remain open pending any further leads,” he said, explaining that the D.A.’s Office cannot pursue the case until an actual suspect is identified. “If anybody has any information regarding the author of that email, they are encouraged to share it with the Signal Hill Police Department,” he added. “Our detective bureau would definitely be interested in pursuing any leads that the public may give to us in this case.”
The email, sent on June 5, claims to be from a homeowner in Signal Hill who is angry at Wilson for supporting Laura Richardson in her bid to be reelected as the U.S. Congresswoman for California’s 37th Congressional District, which includes Signal Hill. At the time the email was sent, Richardson was under investigation for corruption but has since been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Presuming that Richardson was guilty of all allegations, the sender of the email told Wilson, “I can only assume that you are just as corrupt, although it could be attributed to being ignorant. The saying goes, where there is smoke there is fire. As far as I am concerned, it’s time for a good old fashioned lynching/tar and feather.”
Wilson reported the email to the SHPD, but he did not break the news to the public or to other members of the Signal Hill City Council until the July 6 council meeting. At that meeting, the council members seemed stunned and at a loss for words, but at the July 20 council meeting, they all took turns expressing their outrage at the email and their support for Wilson.
“It’s hurtful to know somebody said that to you,” said Councilwoman Tina Hansen. “I’m so sorry that happened to you.”
“I went home in kind of a state of shock,” added Councilman Mike Noll. He stressed that all the members of the council have always supported each other, and everyone recognizes that Wilson has contributed much to the City of Signal Hill. Councilmembers Larry Forester and Ellen Ward echoed those comments.
Anyone with information as to the identity of the author of the email is asked to call the SHPD at (562) 989-7200.

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