INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A northern Indiana police chief said Sunday he believes a man arrested after allegedly threatening to "kill as many people as he could" at a school was just bluffing when he made the ominous remark during a heated argument with his wife.
Interim Cedar Lake Police Chief Jerry Smith said Von I. Meyer, 60, was arguing early Friday morning with his wife and initially threatened to set her on fire while she was sleeping at their home.
Meyer, who was arrested Saturday on seven felony charges, then told his wife he would kill her "at the school" and "would kill as many people as he could before police could stop him police," Smith said.
Meyer's wife works at the cafeteria at Jane Ball Elementary School, less than 1,000 feet from the couple's home in Cedar Lake, about 45 miles southeast of Chicago.
Smith said Meyer's wife stayed away from that school Friday and police boosted security at the elementary school and three other area schools as a precaution, taking those steps before 26 people, including 20 students, were shot and killed at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
"We just didn't want to take any chances," he said of the extra security at the schools.
Although police found 47 guns and ammunition hidden throughout Meyer's two-story home after they arrested him, Smith said most of those weapons were antique collector guns and he believes Meyer was not serious about his school threat.
He said Meyer's wife told officers their relationship was turbulent and he had often threatened her.
"If people followed through on all the threats they've ever made - things said in anger that they don't really mean and regret - our population in this country would be half of what it is," he said. "This was something he said in the heat of an argument. He hadn't been plotting this."
Meyer was arrested there without incident Saturday on felony intimidation, resisting law enforcement and domestic battery charges.