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CMU Student Charged In Anonymous Rooftop Sniper Threat

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As our country is mourning those innocent lives lost in Parkland, Fla., it's possible a tragedy like that one might have been prevented here in Pittsburgh.

Police said there was a credible email threat made to Carnegie Mellon University by a student.

The CMU student facing charges of making terroristic threats is 18-year-old Derek Li. He has since been removed from the campus community.

The university is confident there is no current danger.

In light of the horrifying massacre in Florida, the threat is even more frightening.

On Feb. 7, police said an email was sent to an internal CMU web platform for students in the "Principles Of Imperative Programming" class.

The chilling email begins with, "Sometimes I just I could go onto a roof with a sniper rifle. Imagine all those little people walking the streets, going in and about with their every day business. So simple and so easily off'ed, to be fair."

"It's so scary," said CMU student Natalie Nankervis.

The email goes on to say, in part, "Sometimes I wish I could just go onto a roof with a sniper rifle…The guy reading a book on a bus bench is just some guy. The little baby in the stroller with his mother and father just makes up another family. Nothing memorable about them, nothing special."

And continues: "People should want to make art, write stories, club a seal, whatever. If all it takes for them to realize is how boring they are, then a first-hand look at death itself should shock them into taking action."

The class professor notified campus police as soon as the email was discovered. Investigators tracked down the IP address.

"I think it's very scary because I think you think it's someone not in your community. Or you think they have to be very out there. But I mean I probably saw this guy on campus," said CMU student Katie Wise.

The email ends like this, "I want to make an impact, make life meaningful even under the eye of death itself. That's what a sniper rifle is for, a tool so quiet, so efficient, and so capable of changing the tide. All it needs is me to guide it."

"It's terrifying. I mean, it's sad that people think like that and want to take it out on innocent people," said CMU student Tyler Fields.

Police said Li admitted to sending the email, but said he copied the language from Reddit.

Police said Li also told them he does not own any weapons.

Because terroristic threats is a misdemeanor level offense, Li was charged by summons. He was not arrested, so he is not being held in the jail.

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