PITTSFORD, N.Y. (News21USA) — The mother of a Cornell University student accused of making online threats against Jews on campus said he had mental health issues and later posted an apology.
Patrick Dai, 21, faces a federal charge of posting threats to kill or injure another person using interstate communications after authorities said he made threatening comments on a Greek Life online forum late last month. The anonymous posts included threats to shoot and stab Jews on the upstate New York campus, unnerving students and prompting police to increase security.
Dai admitted that he posted the threatening messages in an interview with law enforcement authorities, according to the federal complaint.
Dai’s mother, Bing Liu, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on Monday that she believes the threats were prompted in part by his use of a medication for depression and anxiety. She also shared an apology post that she said Dai’s defense attorneys gave her after receiving evidence collected in the case.
The anonymous post apologizes to the Cornell community for the “divisive statements.”
“It is shameful to call for violence against people because of a cruel war thousands of miles away,” reads the post made hours after the online threats. “It is even more shameful because there is no excuse for attacking innocent civilians, much less my classmates. “
Liu said prosecutors and the FBI should have shared the apology publicly.
“Why didn’t they reveal this important information?” he asked the newspaper.
Emails were sent to the FBI and Dai’s federal public defender requesting verification and information about the post. Federal prosecutors in Syracuse said they had no comment.
Dai had taken three semesters off due to a difficult transition to college. This summer he was prescribed an antidepressant, but Dai had complained that the medication was making him worse. The family planned to meet with his therapist to discuss a change, according to his mother.
Liu said he had been taking Dai home on weekends because of what appeared to be worsening depression. Dai was at home with his mother and her younger brother the weekend the threats appeared online. She returned it to Cornell on the morning of October 30.
Dai was arrested the next day and suspended from Cornell. He was being held in an upstate New York jail while awaiting a bond hearing Thursday.
“I worry about him,” Liu said. “He needs to take medicine.”
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