California man Daniel Lee Rippy pleads guilty to threats during Ohio State football game

(STL.News) – Daniel Lee Rippy, 29, of Livermore, California pleaded guilty today to threatening a shooting at The Ohio State University and vowing to hurt football players.  He sent the online threat during the 2018 football game between Ohio State and Michigan, which was played in Columbus.

According to court documents, Rippy sent a message over Facebook stating that the school was going to get shot up and “I’m seriously going to hurt the students and all the players from the football team.”  He sent several other threats to injure or kill players, their family members and the head coach.

Law enforcement officials at the stadium were placed on high alert and re-allocated resources to investigate the threat, ultimately determining that Rippy was in California at the time he made the threat and did not pose an immediate danger.

“Graphic threats of violence against anyone, but especially threats during high-profile events, are taken seriously and will be prosecuted,” said David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

“Threats of violence are very dangerous and can divert law enforcement resources from local emergencies,” stated FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman. “ I commend The Ohio State University Police Division, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and our law enforcement partners who aggressively investigated this case and work each day to keep the community safe.”

FBI agents arrested Rippy in California in December 2019 and he was released on bond, but he was re-arrested and U.S. Marshals transported him to Columbus after he failed to appear for a scheduled appointment with the court.  Rippy today pleaded guilty to one count of Threat in Interstate Communications, which carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The court will conduct a pre-sentence investigation and determine an appropriate sentence according to federal sentencing guidelines and the defendant’s acceptance of responsibility, among other factors.  He remains in custody pending sentencing.

Joining Mr. DeVillers and SAC Hoffman in announcing the plea was Ohio State University Police Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt. The plea was entered before U.S. Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Knight represented the United States in the case which was investigated by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

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