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May 06, 2018

FBI investigates after Lafayette student allegedly tweets about joining ISIS, attacking school

Investigations Threats
Stock_Carroll - AR-15 semi-automatic rifles Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.

An extensive investigation was prompted at Lafayette College after a student allegedly posted Saturday about joining ISIS and planning an attack at the school.

The incident began with a series of Tweets posted by a user with the name “Jafar Saleem (Brendan)” and handle @BdanJafarSaleem, the account of which has now been suspended by Twitter. The Twitter user claimed to be a student at Lafayette College and posted several threatening messages saying an attack was planned for the school. Included among the tweets, as captured by several outlets before being suspended, was a photo of assault rifles with the caption, “Allah has graced us with these weapons of destruction to carry out his needs.”

The Twitter profile also linked to a still-active Pastebin letter allegedly penned by the student, outlining his intentions of an attack.

“My name is Jafar but I used to go by Brendan. I’m enrolled in Economics in Lafayette, and my years has been awful… I found faith and healing in Allah, and I learned that in this life that natural selection is a beauty that Islam embraces,” the letter begins.

“I’ve pledged my allegiance to ISIS and have been planning to visit Syria for some time but I have been in contact with several other supporters of the caliphate through apps on my cell phone and they have helped me coordinate and orchestrate the attack I’m going to unleash on Lafayette.”

The letter goes on to say, “By the time you read this, my attack will already be putting [sic] into effect, they’ll be playing right into my plan. I have set up several pipe bombs, pressure cookers and nail bombs around the campus to plan to inflict the utmost damage possible. I am sorry to my family, and my loved ones as I will go down with a fight.”

Lafayette responded to the threats and urged the community to stay calm as they investigated. Though the school did not enter lockdown, students were urged to remain in place.

Throughout the night and into the early hours of Sunday officials were investigating the campus, including officials from the FBI. Around 4:45 a.m., Lafayette said there were no “malicious or hazardous materials” identified.

Lafayette said the FBI would continue to work with Public Safety and the Easton Police on the investigation.