Pepperdine President's Son Accused of Making Threats Against Family

Christopher Benton, 27, who remains behind bars on $250,000 bail, is accused of making threats against his parents and bringing a loaded semi-automatic handgun on campus.

The son of President Andrew K. Benton was arrested Thursday on suspicion of making criminal threats against his family and having a loaded handgun on campus.

Christopher Benton, 27, was taken into custody shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday at the university, according to Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Benton is also accused of being an ex-felon in possession of a handgun and ammunition. The loaded semi-automatic handgun was found on a hillside and the ammunition was reportedly found in his car, which was also on campus, Whitmore said.

Deputies swarmed the campus, just days after freshmen arrived at Pepperdine. The first day of school for all students is Monday.

"We wanted to ensure the safety of the campus. It was safe at all times. This young man is in custody," Whitmore said.

Pepperdine University President Andrew Benton told the Pepperdine Graphic that they recognize he has made several harmful decisions in his life.

“We love our son and, perhaps, we love him even more as a consequence of the many challenges he has faced in his life. He has made a number of harmful decisions, especially those emerging from experience with drugs and poor choices in friends. We don’t know exactly how we arrived at this point, but we are a family and we will work through it. We hope this present situation is the beginning of a new path, and we pray fervently to that end,” Benton told the newspaper.

Pepperdine University officials confirmed the arrest in a statement.

“Pepperdine fully cooperated with law enforcement personnel to protect its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The Pepperdine community is asked to remember the Bentons during this difficult time,” the statement read.

Benton had gone to his parents' home, which is on campus, on Wednesday, and allegedly made threats against them, Whitmore said. His parents called the sheriff's department, and deputies looked for Benton overnight.

When Benton returned to the family home on Thursday, campus security called the sheriff's department.

"The young man ran out of a side door and down a small hill," Whitmore said. "Our deputies retraced where he ran and that is how we discovered the weapon."

Benton, who spent time in a rehabilitation facility earlier this year, was wanted for questioning in the overdose death of 25-year-old Katie Wilkins in April. Investigators said Benton was likely the last person who saw Wilkins alive, based on surveillance footage that showed the pair at a McDonald’s restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway.

Benton was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

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Jen August 28, 2012 at 10:05 PM
They have known about his addiction and always bailed him out. He is a ex felon, they have paid more money then we know to cover up and bail him out. He has never had to pay for his actions. He is involved in way more then you know...he was a known drug dealer in the Malibu area, involved in 2 peoples deaths over the years involving drugs and BENTON has paid his way, covered it up and never held him responsible. Do not tell people to be kind. We were kind years ago when cops were coming on campus looking for in at age 15. We never said a word and kept quiet out of respect for Benton. People that work at Pepperdine know way more then the public and you know. Im sorry but we are done being nice. He is putting workers, students and the community in harms way. Benton should of put a stop to his sons actions years ago instead of covering it up for the sake of his reputation. I have lost respect for the Benton family. Its 12 years too late that they are finally making the correct decision to get him out of here and NEVER allow for him to come back.
Lorraine September 22, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Let's see. Chris is 27 years old. He has had drug problems for 14 years (makes him 13 years old). He was in trouble -on campus - at age 15. He's been around Malibu since he's 4 (?) He's married/ They live at his parent house on campus. He was with Katie Wilkins. He drove away with her car. He's been in an out of rehab. As an outsider looking in - this is a lot of years of trouble. His father became President 12 years ago - obviously a Professor at the school prior. Age 13 starting out on drugs --Age 15 the year his father became President, in trouble. Seems like something happened which was left untold within the family and outside the family.......................
Pam September 22, 2012 at 04:32 PM
You really need to choose your words more carefully. Murder? Do you honestly think every time someone overdoses it is alone? You need to see a little bit more of the world-start with downtown Los Angeles. Junkies do it all the time. They hang out together. The "Malibu Community"-well, Chris is/was part of the Malibu community, too. He has absolutely no legal obligation to speak to the sheriffs and don't you think they would have arrested him if they had a shred of evidence he forcibly shot Wilkins' up? What fool would talk to the sheriff when he had so clearly shown his bias. Katie's parents even wanted Chris' parents to talk to them. Are you kidding? What did they know? Were they there? The whole thing was beyond weird with the Surfside News doing weekly whole page articles on this guy. He, LIKE KATIE, is an addict. They did drugs. She died. That's the story. It's sad, but it's also sad how all the haters come out for this guy and his family.
katie bukett September 24, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I honsetly think this needs to be dropped everyone just keeps talking about it let it go now. he is in jail, are you people writing this kind of stuff to himwhile he sits in there??
katie bukett September 24, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Everyone is so called " safe" as you say. he is in jail. Let it go... What else do you want from malibu kids.. We were giving too much at a young age and used it the wrong way just like ryan o'neal's son Redmen. he was apart of our "crowd" and he went through and is still going through the same things. His mother left him 15 million dollars when she died and he was sitting in L.A. county jail... I had to get away from it all because i couldn't let my life get to that.. You people can calls us stupid little rich kids all you want but EVERYONE goes through their own battles.. Katie died because of the lifestyle. NOT fair but that's what always happens... The good die young.. She was one of my best friends in High school. we were always running around doing heroin, there were those good time when we were jus kids without a care in the world. Leave Chris alone he will aways be the one who pulls himself down, he doesn't need all you HATERS! I love all my friends but i keep a space between us because of all this drama. at one point of name was smached all over Malibu. Because of who i amand my parents.. it's just so sick.. Adny loves his son and is trying to do the best for everyone who this effects....R.I.P. Katie Wilkins xoxoxox


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