Man arrested for threatening Howard U students: 'It's not murder if they're black'

John Edgar Rust. (Virginia State Police Sex Offender and Crimes against Minors Registry)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) - An Alexandria man faces up to five years in prison if convicted after he was arrested Wednesday on charges of threatening online to murder African Americans at Howard University.

According to documents presented to the court (see below), John Edgar Rust, 26, used the in-store Wi-Fi of a Panera restaurant in Alexandria to post the threat to two online messageboards on Nov. 11, 2015. According to an FBI affidavit, he concluded by saying, “After all, it’s not murder if they’re black.”

The affidavit states investigators determined Rust’s computer was connected to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi network, and that he made a restaurant purchase that day on his credit card.

Rust is a previously convicted felon, according to a statement from the Department of Justice about the arrest.

According to the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, a man named John Edgar Rust, 26, of Alexandria, was convicted in November 2012 of indecent liberties with a child by custodian and aggravated sexual battery against a minor.

Rust is due to appear for a preliminary and detention hearing at the federal courthouse in Alexandria Thursday at 2 p.m.

If convicted, Rust will be sentenced by a federal court judge who will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors, according to the DOJ statement.

View the court document below. Caution: Language in the document might be offensive.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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