Jim Suhr, AP, July 26, 2007
He seemed in many ways a typical college student—president of his fraternity at Southern Illinois University, an aspiring rapper who wrote about finding a girlfriend who could cook. His said his favorite book was the Bible. But Olutosin Oduwole also had not-so-typical interests, like buying and selling guns on the Internet.
He allegedly sold a fully automatic M-16 assault rifle he never owned. And a court document says he was seen walking around campus wearing a bullet-resistant vest in May.
Then came the news this week: Police said they found a handwritten note inside his car threatening a “murderous rampage” similar to the one at Virginia Tech that left 32 people and the gunman dead.
On Wednesday—Oduwole’s 22nd birthday—he pleaded not guilty to making a terrorist threat, a felony. He was being held Thursday on $1.1 million bail.
That alleged plot was revealed, authorities say, on a piece of paper found inside Oduwole’s car July 20. Rap lyrics were scrawled on one side of the sheet and part of the flipside, where authorities found the words that troubled them.
The note, police say, demanded payment to a PayPal account, threatening, “if this account doesn’t reach $50,000 in the next seven days then a murderous rampage similar to the VT shooting will occur at another highly populated university. THIS IS NO JOKE.”
The writer suggested the shooting would target a “prestigious” university, but that word was crossed out. There was no direct mention of the 13,500-student Southern Illinois University in this city about 20 miles northeast of St. Louis.
At Oduwole’s university apartment, police said they discovered a loaded gun and, according to a search warrant, a photograph of Oduwole flashing gang signs.
Oduwole was legally entitled to purchase the firearms, but federal authorities, with help from the dealer, intercepted the weapons.