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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Man Arrested for Threatening to Murder African-Americans at Howard University

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Alexandria man was arrested today for allegedly threatening to murder African-Americans at Howard University.

John Edgar Rust, 24, a previously convicted felon, has been charged with the transmission in interstate commerce of a communication containing threats to injure the person of another. According to court documents, on Nov. 11, 2015, Rust used the in-store Wi-Fi of a restaurant in Alexandria to post a statement online threatening to murder African-Americans at Howard University.

Rust is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan at the federal courthouse in Alexandria tomorrow at 2 p.m. for a preliminary and detention hearing.

Rust faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison if convicted. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas U. Murphy and Maya D. Song are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:17-mj-56.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Violent Crime
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications
Updated October 4, 2017