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Federal authorities arrested a Cornell University student on Tuesday after he allegedly threatened extreme violence against the school’s Jewish community on a website unaffiliated with the upstate New York Ivy League campus last weekend.
Patrick Dai, 21, a junior student at the university originally 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 a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of New York.
The complaint against Dai alleges he posted threatening messages to the Cornell section of an online discussion site, which included calling for the deaths of Jewish people and carrying out a mass shooting of the 104 West building, which is a Cornell University dining hall that caters predominantly to Kosher diets, located next to the Cornell Jewish Center.
“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,” authorities said in a news release. “In that same post, Dai threatened to ‘bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig jews.'”
Dai faces a maximum term of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release of up to three years if convicted.
Jewish students on the university’s campus in Ithaca, New York, were put on high alert on Sunday night after at least six screenshots allegedly taken from the Greek Rank website displayed online threats from anonymous users who said “‘israel’ deserved 10/7” and “eliminate jewish living from cornell campus” to another user who claimed they would “shoot up 104 west.”
Cornell University officials confirmed earlier on Tuesday that authorities identified and placed a suspect in custody who allegedly made the threats.
Joel M. Malina, vice president for university relations at Cornell University, told The Daily Wire in an emailed statement that the Ivy League campus remains “shocked” and “condemn[s] 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,” Malina said. “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.”
Threats against Jewish communities in the U.S. continue to rise after the Israel-Hamas war entered its fourth week over the weekend, which has sparked a wave of anti-Semitism from supporters of Hamas.
Preliminary data reported by the Anti-Defamation League last Tuesday showed incidents of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism, and assault increased by nearly 400% since Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,400 people on October 7.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in testimony during a Senate hearing Tuesday that the Jewish community has been “targeted by terrorists really across the spectrum,” including “homegrown violent extremists” and “foreign terrorist organizations.” The anti-Semitic threats are reaching “historic levels” inside the U.S., he said.
Federal authorities became aware of the incident at Cornell University after school officials notified the FBI of a potential hate crime.
“We take all threats seriously and are working closely with Cornell and our law enforcement partners at every level to determine the credibility, share information, and take appropriate investigative action,” a spokesperson from the FBI told The Daily Wire in a statement. “We encourage members of the public to immediately report anything they consider suspicious to law enforcement. Nothing is more important than the safety of our communities and we will not tolerate violence motivated by hate and extremism.”