DOWNTOWN — A college student who threatened to kill 16 white students or staff members at the University of Chicago — leading the school to cancel classes Monday — was ordered released from federal custody Tuesday.
Jabari Dean, a 21-year-old electrical engineering student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, left the federal courthouse Tuesday afternoon with his mom and lawyer. He was charged Monday with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Dean posted threats from his mother’s phone on the website Worldstarhiphop.com on Saturday and then later deleted it, but not before a tipster sent the comments to federal agents in New York, according to the FBI.
"I will be armed with a M-4 Carbine and 2 Desert Eagles all fully loaded," the online post states, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. "I will execute approximately 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time Mcdonald 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."
At a hearing Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox ordered him released to serve home detention at his mother's Grand Crossing apartment and ordered him
not to use the internet. The judge allowed him to stay in classes at UIC. He will forfeit $4,500 if he misses his next court hearing.
"This turned out better than I thought, " said Phillip Rutherford, Dean's uncle, after the hearing. "Everyone was professional and that was the best we could hope for."
Officials and family members said they didn't think Dean had the means to commit the crimes he threatened. His uncle couldn't say why he targeted the Hyde Park school.
"Why did he pick the University of Chicago? I don't know. It's silly," Rutherford said.
Dean and his family members did not comment as they left the U.S. Dirksen Federal Courthouse Tuesday.
Although the judge allowed him to attend class, Bill Burton, a spokesman for UIC, declined to comment on whether he would be allowed to return or what disciplinary actions Dean may face at the school.
"Whenever a student faces criminal charges they may also face disciplinary measures," Burton said.
The university, U. of C. Laboratory School, charter schools and other institutions on campus resumed normal hours on Tuesday morning.
“The university will leave additional security presence in place through the end of the autumn quarter,” said university President Robert Zimmer in a letter to faculty and staff on Monday evening.
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