Cops: Suspended Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory student charged with making terroristic threats

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A Huntington man who police said had been suspended from studies at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for "erratic behavior" was arrested Wednesday and charged with making terroristic threats against the staff, Nassau County police said.

John P. Sheppard, 26, of 62A Fairview St., was arrested at his home without incident at 4:45 p.m., police said. Police said at the time of his arrest Sheppard was "in possession of an imitation pistol BB gun."

No one was injured.

Between May 19 and July 7, police said, Sheppard made "several threatening posts" on social media that "put the [lab] staff in fear" for their safety.

Police said the threatening posts did not refer to any type of biological threat, but involved physical action.

Police did not provide specifics of those threats.

A lab spokesman declined to comment, citing the police investigation.

The lab was founded in the late 19th century as a training school for high school and college teachers in marine biology, according to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's website, and evolved into genetic and biological research, including that of DNA structure.

Sheppard was charged with six counts of making a terroristic threat and also with fourth-degree possession of a dangerous weapon, police said.

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He was arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead and held on a $5,000 cash or bond bail.

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