Cornell University Student Arrested For Making Online Threats To Jewish Students On Campus
Patrick Dai allegedly threatened to "stab" Jewish students on campus.
Police in the United States have arrested a Cornell University students for allegedly making violent threats against his Jewish peers. The US Justice Department identified the students as 21-year-old Patrick Dai from Pittsford, New York. He is accused of posting threatening messages to the Cornell section of an online discussion website, including those calling for the deaths of Jewish people and a post that said "gonna shoot up 104 west". The term 104 west refers to Cornell University dining hall that is located next to the Cornell Jewish Centre, the Justice Department further said.
Dai also 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, and to behead any Jewish babies, according to Cornell University Police.
He was arrested after the investigators traced the deranged posts to Dai's IP address at his off-campus apartment, NBC News reported citing federal complaint.
His family, however, believe their son is innocent.
"My son is in severe depression. He cannot control his emotion well due to the depression. No, I don't think he committed the crime," his father told New York Post in a text message, asking that his name not be used.
He also claimed that Dai sank into depression in 2021, one year after his engineering studies at the prestigious university.
At Cornell, Dai worked as an undergraduate consultant helping other engineering students with MATLAB, a computer programming language.
His parents said the man never had a history of violence.
"He was always very nice to society, well organised, helpful to my family and his classmates before 2021. He told us he lost his life goal and motivation. As parents, we tried to give him more love," Dai's father told the Post.
The US Justice Department website said the charge against Dai carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 (Rs 2.08 crore).
He will be presented before a federal court in Syracuse, New York, on Wednesday.
The investigation against him is being done by FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes the New York State Police.