In a news release on October 31, 2023, the DOJ announced that Dai is now facing up to five years in prison on a criminal charge.
NBC News reported that Dai confessed to making the threats and was arrested after authorities say they traced the threats to Dai’s IP address.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Patrick Dai Is a School of Engineering Student & National Merit Scholar Who Is Originally From Pittsford, New York
The Post reported that Dai was “one of five National Merit Scholars named at Pittsford-Mendon High School” and is “a 12-time AP Scholar who also logged time volunteering at Rochester General Hospital.”
According to the news release, Dai is a “junior at Cornell University who is originally from Pittsford, New York.”
He was arrested on October 31, 2023, “on a federal criminal complaint charging him with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications,” the release says.
“The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman; Alfred Watson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento; and Cornell University Police Chief Anthony Bellamy.”
2. Patrick Dai’s Parents Worried He Might Harm Himself Because He Suffered From ‘Severe Depression,’ Reports Say
According to The New York Post, Dai’s mother worried he was on the “brink of suicide” shortly before his arrest.
That’s because he suffered from “severe depression,” The Post reported.
“My son is in severe depression. He cannot control his emotion well due to the depression. No I don’t think he committed the crime,” his father told The Post.
The Post reported that his parents say Dai’s depression started the year after he entered college. “He was always very nice to society, well organized, helpful to my family and his classmates before 2021,” his father said to the Post.
“He told us he lost his life goal and motivation … As parents, we tried to give him more love.”
He took off two semesters to try to recover, The Post reported, adding that he stopped communicating with his parents right before the threats emerged.
“My wife called him or sent messages to him many times but got no answers. She was worrying that he may commit suicide and drove to his apartment to see what happened,” Dai’s father said to The Post.
3. Patrick Dai’s LinkedIn Page Says He Was a ‘Safety Officer’ for an Event on Campus & Helped Teaching Assistants
On LinkedIn, Dai wrote that he was a member of “CU Geodata” and a “CS 1112 Consultant” who was tasked with providing “help grading, assist TAs during sections, answer any questions that come up.”
He was a safety officer and director of logistics for Science Olympiad at Cornell, according to the LinkedIn page. He was an orientation supervisor for Cornell Campus Engagement, the page says.
The page also says he was a member of Tech Consulting at Cornell and a member of Cornell Mars Rover.
At Strong Memorial Hospital, he “assisted in lab work performing gel imaging, gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reactions,” the LinkedIn page says.
Dai took a number of AP classes in high school, the page says. The page says he scored 800 on the SAT in chemistry and math.
4. Patrick Dai Is Accused of ‘Calling for the Deaths of Jewish People’ & Threatening to ‘Slit the throat’ of any Jewish Males He Saw on Campus
The complaint accuses Dai of posting “threatening messages to the Cornell section of an online discussion site, including posts calling for the deaths of Jewish people and a post that said ‘gonna shoot up 104 west,'” the release says.
“According to information provided by Cornell University Police and other public information, 104 West is a Cornell University dining hall that caters predominantly to Kosher diets and is located next to the Cornell Jewish Center, which provides residences for Cornell students,” the release notes.
In another post, Dai is accused of threatening 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,” the release says.
In that same post, Dai threatened to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig jews,” the release says, adding that “the charges and the allegations in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”
The Cornell Sun has more details on the threats.
5. Patrick Dai Is Facing Up to 5 Years in Prison
The charge “filed against Dai carries a maximum term of 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years,” the release says.
“A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors,” it adds.
Dai “is expected to make his initial appearance tomorrow in federal court in Syracuse, New York, before a United States Magistrate Judge,” the release says.
Joel M. Malina, vice president for university relations for Cornell, told CNN: “Cornell University is grateful to the FBI for working so swiftly to identify and apprehend the suspect in this case, a Cornell student, who remains in custody.”
“We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, antisemitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he told the network.
CNN said university officials are maintaining heightened security for the campus.
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