EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A university student was arrested after authorities say he threatened a "murderous rampage" similar to theVirginia Tech shootings that left 32 people and a student gunman dead, authorities said.
A gun dealer had alerted federal authorities about the man, saying he had seemed overly anxious to get a shipment of semiautomatic weapons, according to an affidavit filed in court by a police detective.
Olutosin Oduwole, who was taking summer classes at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, was charged Tuesday with attempting to make a terrorist threat, a felony. He remained jailed Wednesday in lieu of $1 million bail.
According to the affidavit, the 22-year-old wrote a note demanding that money be deposited to a PayPal account, threatening that "if this account doesn't reach $50,000 in the next 7 days then a murderous rampage similar to the VT shooting will occur at another highly populated university. THIS IS NOT A JOKE!"
The note had suggested the shooting would target a "prestigious" university, but that word was crossed out. There was no direct mention of Southern Illinois University.
John Cernkovich, Oduwole's attorney on unrelated theft and fraud charges filed last week, described Oduwole as a musician who writes rap lyrics and said the threatening note was on a sheet of paper that included rap words.
Authorities found the note Friday in Oduwole's car on campus, said university spokesman Greg Conroy. Police also said they found a loaded gun in Oduwole's dorm room.
The detective said in the affidavit that Oduwole, of Maplewood, N.J., had recently bought three semiautomatic guns online but had not yet received them, and also had ordered a weapon similar to an Uzi submachine gun.
A gun dealer alerted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because Oduwole "appeared very anxious to get these firearms and seemed very impatient," the affidavit said.
According to a search warrant, police also seized a picture of Oduwole flashing gang signs, a camcorder and U.S. and Nigerian passports. The court documents did not list the name on those passports.
Oduwole was charged July 19 with theft and fraud for selling an M-16 rifle online but failing to ship the weapon to the buyer, prosecutors said.
Cernkovich said Wednesday his client is a U.S. citizen and described him as "pretty normal."
"I didn't think he was an irrational person," the lawyer said.
"I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I understand that in this environment — post-Sept. 11 — authorities don't take any chances," Cernkovich said. "Unfortunately, my client now is in custody because of that."
The Madison County state's attorney did not immediate respond to a message seeking comment.
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville is about 20 miles northeast of St. Louis and has an enrollment of about 13,500 students.