SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Patrick Dai, age 21, a junior at Cornell University who is originally from Pittsford, N.Y., was arrested Tuesday on a federal criminal complaint charging him with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman; Alfred Watson, acting special agent in charge of the Albany Field Office of the FBI; New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento; and Cornell University Police Chief Anthony Bellamy.
The complaint alleges that Dai posted threatening messages to the Cornell section of an online discussion site, including posts calling for the deaths of Jewish people and a post that said “gonna shoot up 104 west.”
According to information provided by Cornell University Police and other public information, 104 West is a Cornell University dining hall that caters predominantly to kosher diets and is located next to the Cornell Jewish Center, which provides residences for Cornell students.
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, and to behead any Jewish babies. In that same post, Dai threatened to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig jews.”
The charges and the allegations in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The charge filed against Dai carries a maximum term of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
Dai was expected to make his initial appearance Wednesday in federal court in Syracuse, before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes the New York State Police, is investigating this case along with the Cornell University Police Department and the Ithaca Police Department. The U.S. 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.