A 21-year-old man was arrested Monday, accused of threatening to kill students and staff at the University of Chicago in an apparent attempt to avenge the death of Laquan McDonald, authorities said.
Jabari Dean, 21 was arrested without incident. He is expected to appear in court later in the day.
According to a criminal complaint, Dean posted a threat on social media over the Thanksgiving weekend.
“This is my only warning. At 10 a.m. on Monday mourning (sic) I am going to the campus quad of the University of Chicago. I will be armed with a M-4 Carbine and 2 Desert Eagles all fully loaded. I will execute aproximately (sic) 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time (sic) Mcdonald (sic) was killed.
“I then will die killing any number of white policemen that I can in the process. This is not a joke. I am to do my part to rid the world of the white devils. I expect you to do the same,” the post read.
“Mcdonald” appears to refer to Laquan McDonald, 17, who was shot 16 times and killed last year by Officer Jason Van Dyke. A judge Monday set a $1.5 million bond for the officer, who has been charged with first-degree murder. Van Dyke posted bond later in the day, authorities said.
The shooting occurred in October 2014, but dashcam video of the incident was recently released, sparking outrage and triggering protests.
NAACP President Cornell Brooks was arrested at a demonstration Monday, along with young seminarians. They were later released, according to the NAACP’s Twitter page.
Threat shuts college
Earlier Monday, the University of Illinois at Chicago had said that one of its students had been arrested. The threat led to the closure of the University of Chicago campus.
“We are monitoring this situation closely and are concerned about the impact this has had on our campus and the University of Chicago,” Michael Amiridis, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in a statement.
The University of Chicago said Sunday that FBI counterterrorism officials had informed the school of a threat, specifically of a shooting on “the campus quad” at 10 a.m. Monday.
“Based on the FBI’s assessment of this threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country, we have decided in consultation with federal and local law enforcement officials, to exercise caution by canceling all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday,” the school said in a statement.
The school asked students and nonessential staff to stay away from campus. Students in college housing were asked to stay inside.
Mixed reaction online
The decision was met with some criticism online.
“Talk about complete panic. .. right now any one of us could shut down anyplace we want with a simple phone call!!” Facebook user Charles Friscia posted to the University of Chicago’s Facebook article announcing the closing.
But others praised the school’s decision to put safety first.
“I am extremely disappointed in the criticism of this decision without any more information than has been provided,” Facebook user Elizabeth Harding wrote. “We have absolutely no idea what type of threat or the degree of danger involved. This must have been a credible threat to have involved the FBI and their ensuing recommendation.”
Last week, Western Washington University canceled classes at its main campus after social media posts suggesting the lynching of a black student government leader as well as other offensive posts.
School President Bruce Shepard didn’t detail the threats and said there was “no threat to general campus safety,” but said a criminal investigation was underway.