SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Patrick Dai, 21, a Cornell University student from Pittsford, New York, was arrested today in connection with a federal criminal complaint accusing him of posting threats of kill or injure another person using interstate communications. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman; Alfred Watson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Albany Field Office; Acting New York State Police Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento; and Cornell University Police Chief Anthony Bellamy.
The complaint alleges that Dai posted threatening messages in the Cornell section of an online discussion site, including messages calling for the death of Jewish people and a message saying “I’m going to shoot up 104 West.” According to information provided by Cornell University Police and other public information, 104 West is a dining hall at Cornell University that caters primarily to kosher diets and is located adjacent to the Cornell Jewish Center, which offers residences to Cornell students. In another message, Dai allegedly threatened to “stab” and “slit the throats” of every Jewish man he saw on campus, rape and throw off a cliff every Jewish woman, and decapitate every Jewish baby. . In that same message, Dai threatened to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all the Jewish pigs.” The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The charge against Dai carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and supervised release of up to 3 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular law the defendant is accused of violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.
Dai is expected to make his first appearance tomorrow in federal court in Syracuse, New York, 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 in conjunction with the Cornell University Police Department and the Ithaca Police Department. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York is prosecuting the case, working with the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section.