ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR) — A 21-year-old Cornell University student was charged Tuesday for allegedly making violent threats against the school’s Jewish community, authorities said.
Patrick Dai, 21, a junior from Pittsford, New York, was arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications, according to United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman.
The complaint states that Dai posted threatening messages to the Cornell section of an online discussion site. Those messages allegedly included posts calling for the deaths of Jewish people and a post that said “gonna shoot up” the 104 West dining hall.
That dining hall caters predominantly to Kosher diets and is located next to the Cornell Jewish Center, which provides residences for Cornell students, according to information from Cornell University Police and other public information.
In another post, Dai allegedly threatened to “stab” and “slit the throat” of any Jewish males he sees on campus, “to rape and throw off a cliff” any Jewish females, to “behead any Jewish babies” and to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot” Jewish people.
According to Freedman, a charge filed against Dai carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.
Dai is expected to make his initial appearance Wednesday in federal court in Syracuse, New York, before a United States Magistrate Judge.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force — which includes the New York State Police — as well as the Cornell University Police Department and the Ithaca Police Department are investigating the case. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York is prosecuting the case, in conjunction with the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice.
On Tuesday night, Joel M. Malina, vice president for university relations at Cornell University, released the following statement:
“Cornell University is grateful to the FBI for working so swiftly to identify and apprehend the suspect in this case, a Cornell student, who remains in custody. We also thank Cornell Police and Chief Anthony Bellamy for extraordinary efforts in supporting the investigation and protecting our campus community. The university will continue to provide assistance to law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office as this case moves forward. We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, antisemitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We know that our campus community will continue to support one another in the days ahead. Cornell Police will maintain its heightened security presence on campus as the university continues to focus on supporting the needs of our students, faculty and staff.”