Police: Weber State student arrested for threatening terrorism; said ‘I kill people, I kill people’

Thewodros Birhanu. Photo: Weber County

OGDEN, Utah, Jan. 5, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A Weber State University student is charged with threatening multiple acts of terrorism, including murder, if school administrators did not drop honor-code violation charges against him.

Thewodros Wolie Birhanu, 35, was arrested Tuesday in connection with a series of threats made in December.

According to a probable cause statement, Birhanu, a physics student, was in a meeting on Dec. 21 about student code violations when he became enraged and threatened to kill the two people he was meeting with if charges against him were not dropped.

As he left the office, he reportedly threatened to kill someone else. The building was put on lockout after several people said they feared for their safety.

On Dec. 22, Birhanu, who had been given a verbal and a written trespass notice, refused to leave campus despite multiple orders from campus police.

On Dec. 23, according to the probable cause statement, Birhanu made threats against a specific administrator if honor code violations were not canceled.

On Dec. 24, Birhanu sent an email to a university employee stating that if he (Birhanu) “wanted to kill people, a trespass notice wouldn’t stop him, then that the university is pushing him to kill people and gave a three-day ultimatum,” the probable cause statement said.

On Dec. 28, Birhanu sent another email to a university employee “stating he will never leave them, and ‘you have to know you will lose one of your body part.'”

Birhanu is being held in the Weber County Jail, without bail. Charges against him are: three counts of threat of terrorism, each a second-degree felony; one count of criminal trespass, a class B misdemeanor; and one count of threat of terrorism causing official or volunteer action, a class B misdemeanor.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday. Birhanu has requested an interpreter who speaks Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.


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