Ex-university worker sent death threats to colleges

A former employee at a Georgia university was arrested and accused of sending death threats to several workers at other universities in California, Indiana and Texas, authorities said.

Shawn Charles Merdinger, 50, was arrested Sunday and charged with a criminal complaint for sending threatening emails, news outlets reported.

Merdinger was an assistant director for IT information security with Valdosta State University between 2014 and 2016.

A U.S. Attorney’s Office press release said between April 16 and 19, Merdinger sent emails to individual employees at the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Indiana, University of Texas, University of Texas at Austin, the University System of Georgia and Valdosta State University.

The emails contained threats of “extreme violence” against the victims, the release said. One message said the victims would be executed in alphabetical order, the release said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Merdinger at his Lake Park home Sunday.

A detention hearing was set for April 23. It’s unclear whether Merdinger had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.