Former Illinois Student Arrested for Reddit Mass Shooting Threat in Florida 


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CHAMPAIGN, IL – A former University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) student has been arrested after allegedly making a threat of a mass shooting.

According to reports, Tuesday’s arrest came after a Reddit user alerted the University of Illinois Police Department (UIPD) of a concerning post.

The student, identified as Jonathan A. Zheng, 22, allegedly used an anonymous username to write on the “UIUC” subreddit that he planned to “shoot up the school.” The post contained additional threatening content and was quickly removed from Reddit. The concerned Reddit user immediately reported the alarming content to the UIPD.

UIPD was able to obtain digital evidence associated with the post and determined that it originated from Pasco County, Florida. Police then coordinated with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office (PSO), and Zheng was arrested at his Florida home by PSO deputies.

According to reports, Zheng later admitted to writing the post and was charged with Written Threats to Kill or Conduct a Mass Shooting. He had previously been dismissed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

In a press release Tuesday evening, UIPD Police Chief Alice Cary commended the observant Reddit user for reporting the alarming social media content. Cary also stressed the importance of community members reporting suspicious or violent activity to help law enforcement act in a timely manner.

“Police investigators acted quickly to identify the person responsible, and law enforcement cooperation extended beyond state lines,” Cary said. “Everyone involved recognized the seriousness of this threat and acted immediately to keep our campus community safe.”

The investigation is ongoing, and UIPD is working with federal authorities to explore additional charges.


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