Court proceedings to begin for men accused of Norco College shooting plot
Pretrial hearings are slated to begin Monday for a convicted felon and his cohort accused of plotting to carry out a shooting spree at Norco College.
Jacob Ryan McBain, 31, of Norco, and Tarence Michael Thomas, 30, of Oregon City, Oregon, were arrested in 2018 following an investigation by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the Riverside Community College District Police Department.
McBain is charged with attempted murder, solicitation of murder, conspiracy, possession of an assault weapon and three counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Thomas is charged only with conspiracy.
They appeared with their attorneys Friday before Superior Court Judge John Molloy, who assigned their case to the courtroom of Judge Mac Fisher at the Riverside Hall of Justice, where pretrial motions will be heard next week ahead of jury selection, which may not begin until later in the month.
Each defendant is being held in lieu of $1 million bail — McBain at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, Thomas at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
According to sheriff’s investigators, on the morning of Feb. 19, 2018, deputies were alerted to threats posted to Facebook allegedly indicating that McBain intended to perpetrate a shooting at Norco College in the near future.
“The threats were deemed credible, and the Norco Special Enforcement Team, along with detectives assigned to the sheriff’s Jurupa Valley station, initiated a detailed and expansive investigation,” according to a sheriff’s statement.
Additional evidence was collected to justify a search warrant, which was served at McBain’s residence in the 5000 block of Trail Street.
Investigators alleged a loaded AR-15 rifle was seized at the location, along with two semiautomatic handguns and a case of ammunition. McBain was taken into custody without a struggle.
Court records show he has prior convictions in another jurisdiction, but the offenses were not listed.
One week later, Thomas was identified as an alleged co-conspirator, prompting detectives to obtain a search warrant, which was served at his residence in Oregon.
The defendant, who has no documented prior felony convictions, surrendered to deputies at the sheriff’s Jurupa Valley station in early April 2018.
A possible motive for the men’s alleged acts was not disclosed.