CHICAGO: FBI agents arrested a black student who allegedly threatened to shoot 16 whites — one for each bullet that hit a teen in a notorious police shooting.
Police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged last week with the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was released on a $1.5 million bail, local media reported.
Van Dyke’s release came just hours after the online mass shooting threat by Jabari Dean, 21, caused the University of Chicago to close its doors.
In the latest racially charged incident to trouble the US city in recent weeks, Dean allegedly admitted to posting the threat when federal agents arrived at his Chicago home.
He told investigators that he had deleted the macabre message shortly after posting it, charging papers said.
But a fellow user of the unidentified social media forum where the message was posted had already taken a screen shot of the threat and showed it to the FBI on Sunday.
The posting described a plan to bring an assault rifle and two handguns to the campus quad on Monday and to “execute” 16 white male students or staff members.
This was allegedly to be carried out to avenge McDonald, a 17-year-old black Chicago youth who was cut down in a hail of 16 police bullets in October 2014.
“I will then die killing any number of white policemen that I can in the process. This is not a joke,” the message read.
“I am to do my part to rid the world of the white devils. I expect you to do the same.”
Tensions flared last week after officials released a dashcam video showing police officer Van Dyke shoot McDonald after the teenager walked away from him.
The graphic video was the latest in a string of police shootings caught on camera that have sparked mass — and sometimes violent — protests.
The footage has fueled an already acrimonious national debate about racism and the use of deadly force by police.
And the latest threat reflects a grim reality of American life, with campus shootings happening on a semi-regular basis.
On October 1, a gunman opened fire at a community college in Oregon, killing nine before taking his own life.
Deadly shootings were also recorded on a campus in Tennessee on October 22, and on a North Carolina campus on November 1. One person died in each attack.
The University of Chicago, which had urged students and non-essential staff to stay away or remain indoors if already on campus, welcomed the arrest and said normal operations would resume on Tuesday.
However, the school said it would leave “additional security presence” in place until the academic term ends on December 12.
The FBI was able to trace the threat to Dean because he posted the comment using an account registered to his email address.
He faces up to five years in prison if convicted of transmitting a threat.
Another college, The University of Illinois Chicago, had earlier identified the suspect as one of its students.