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What We Know About the Guy Whose Alleged Mass Murder Threat Shut Down the University of Chicago Monday

He faces five years in prison, but federal prosecutors don't consider him a threat.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Leefon.

Amid the ongoing tensions surrounding the indictment of a Chicago police officer in the 2014 murder of 17-year-old Chicago high school student Laquan McDonald, a student at University of Illinois at Chicago has been arrested for allegedly making online threats to "rid the world of white devils." According to reports, the student, Jabari Dean, posted extremely specific messages online about bursting on to the nearby campus and executing 16 white people—one for each police bullet fired at McDonald on October 20, 2014.


According to the Chicago Tribune, the following unambiguous threat was included in a comment posted on, below a movie clip about Black Panthers preparing to kill police, and it was initialed "JRD":

This is my only warning. At 10 a.m. on Monday morning, I'm going to the campus quad of the University of Chicago. I will be armed with an M-4 carbine and two desert eagles, all fully loaded. I will execute approximately 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time McDonald was killed.

The comment was apparently discovered online over Thanksgiving weekend by a New York resident who forwarded the information along to the FBI. On Sunday night, the University of Chicago had received word of the threat, and announced that the campus would be closed Monday. The FBI apparently tracked Dean down through his ISP and made the arrest on Monday morning.

Limited information has been released about Dean. The 21-year-old was arrested "without incident," according to a press release by the Department of Justice. According to his Linkedin profile, Dean studies electrical engineering at the University of Illinois, and attended to Hirsch Metropolitan High School on Chicago's South Side.

Federal prosecutors say that Dean, who appeared in court on Monday, is not considered a threat, because he lacked the resources—presumably weapons—to make good on his threats. He will be allowed to return to his mother's house, where he lives, on Tuesday.


The arrest comes in the wake of protests over McDonald's murder. Last Wednesday, a Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the case. Footage was released showing the police officer emptying a clip into McDonald, who is seen jaywalking, then being shot in what is apparently continuous gunfire that persisted long after he is seen lying on the ground, limp. McDonald had allegedly attacked a police car while on PCP.

With the help of the Fraternal Order of Police, Van Dyke was able to post bail Monday, and was expected to leave jail later this evening.

Dean now faces federal charges of making a "threat in interstate commerce," a charge that usually accompanies terrorism cases. However, the court filing in the case says Dean's alleged crime carries a five-year maximum penalty, so it's by no means clear that federal prosecutors plan to pursue terrorism charges in this instance.

Earlier in November, after two faculty firings at the University of Missouri, a student posted a similar threat on Yik Yak, saying "I'm going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see." A suspect, Hunter Park, was arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat.

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