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Suspect arrested in University of Chicago threat

CHICAGO -- An online threat against the University of Chicago that led the school to cancel all activities Monday appears to have been motivated by the shooting of a black teenager by a Chicago officer in 2014, federal authorities said.

Jabari Dean, 21, of Chicago, is charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, according to a statement released by U.S. Attorney's Office in Illinois.

In a Thanksgiving weekend posting on a social media website, Dean stated that he would execute approximately sixteen students or staff members on the campus quad of the University of Chicago on Nov. 30, 2015, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The threat came days after a video was released showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. It prompted several days of protests in the city.

Dean also stated in the posting that he would die "killing any number of white policemen that I can in the process," according to the complaint.

Federal authorities identified Dean and confronted him prior to 10 a.m. He is expected in court sometime on Monday.

The University of Illinois at Chicago released a statement Monday saying the person arrested was one of their students, "living off-campus." They did not provide any additional details.

The normally bustling University of Chicago campus was quiet Monday after the threat was made.

Few students walked in the surrounding neighborhoods Monday morning, while Chicago Police Department squad cars and a wagon patrolled streets, along with campus security cars.

The school canceled all classes and activities following the threat, which was passed on by the FBI.

Security staff in yellow jackets stood on campus walkways, including the quad.

The school urged faculty, students and non-essential staff to stay away on Monday from the Hyde Park campus on Chicago's South Side and told students in college housing to stay indoors.

Rafael Munez headed to work at a student dining hall, where he's been employed for three years. He said he was a little nervous walking onto campus on Monday, particularly thinking about recent campus shootings.

"My wife didn't want me to come to work," he said. "It's scary ... It puts you on your toes."

Students closed their books, shut down their laptops and hurried home Sunday when the school first alerted people to the threat, according to student body president Tyler Kissinger.

"I work in the campus coffee shop and when people got the notice (announcements and online) they really cleared out of here immediately," the 21-year-old senior said.

The announcement, which he said was the first time he's heard of the school closing for any reason besides inclement weather, also was a reminder of what residents in neighborhoods near campus, which is on the South Side of Chicago, live with every day.

"A lot of people on the South Side live in constant fear of gun violence and, in a sense, we are a bit sheltered from that," he said.

Junchen Feng, who is pursuing a doctorate, said the threat raised his awareness about gun violence in Chicago and beyond.

"For the first time I was thinking about people who live in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan ... where they live under constant threats of death and violence," said the student from China, who planned to spend the day at home and in a campus building that was a five-minute walk away. "It's a mindset that we just don't have."

Manier said the cancellation of classes and activities would affect more than 30,000 people, including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff. The University of Chicago Medical Center was open to patients and had added security, the university said. The Medical Center has nearly 7,500 staff.

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