Holding Antisemites Accountable.

Close this search box.

Cal State Monterey Bay Student Arrested on Weapons Charge had Swastika, Hitler Picture at Home

Thomas Shefflette, 36 and a former California State Monterey Bay (CSUMB) student, was arrested on a felony weapons charge last month. CSUMB campus police released no details and no warning was sent out to students or staff, resulting in rumors flying and a March 5, 2021, town hall.

During the town hall, Campus Police Chief Earl Lawson detailed how the arrest came about and answered questions from the community. According to Lawson, campus police were assisting the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office in serving the former student an eviction notice at East Campus Housing when they found illegal weapons in his moving truck.

After searching the home officers discovered a loaded 9mm handgun, AR-15 rifle parts and tools to assemble what’s known as a ghost gun or a firearm built using individually sourced parts that can’t be tracked.

During the town hall, Lawson detailed what else was found in the home and if the suspect had ties to extremist groups. “He did have a swastika and somewhere in the apartment and although I didn’t see it, there was a photo of Adolph Hitler, officers conducted and continue to conduct a thorough investigation and we have not any evidence that the resident — or former resident — holds any affiliation with hate groups,” said Lawson.

University president Eduardo Ochoa also took part in the virtual meeting and told students and faculty that no warning was sent out about the arrest because Shefflette was not deemed an immediate threat to those on campus.

“There was an assessment made at the time whether a clear and timely warning was called for and it was not because there was, in fact, no continuing threat,” said Ochoa.

Ochoa said he was notified of the arrest as it was in progress and said the investigation followed protocol.

The former student and resident is now out on bail and as of March 5, 2021, meeting Campus Police were working to secure a stay-away order to keep Shefflette off-campus. However, Lawson said the man was not planning a campus attack of any sort.

“No evidence found of any intention to do harm to any community members, the motivation for possession of the weapons and the ghost gun parts appears to be for financial gain,” said Lawson.

At the time of the arrest, the sheriff’s office called out its bomb squad when chemicals and wires were found at the home but after investigating determined no bomb or bomb-making materials were onsite.