Man charged with ISIS-related threats at Lafayette admitted to firebombing car in Canada
The Alaska man charged with spreading panic across the Lafayette College campus after sending bogus emails about a terror plot admitted to federal investigators that he firebombed a car in Canada, according to court documents.
The documents filed Jan. 22 in federal court say Gavin Casdorph also admitted he traveled to Canada to kill two people, that he made internet threats against Carelton College in Canada and threatened the Ottawa, Canada, police. The documents say he did not carry out his murder plot in Canada but once there he used gasoline and two propane bottles to firebomb a car belonging to one of the targets.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph A. LaBar made the claims against Casdorph in a court motion to keep Casdorph detained pending his trial on charges of making threats and conveying false information concerning an attempt to kill individuals and damage buildings via an explosive.
Casdorph’s attorney, James A. Funt of Philadelphia, disputed LaBar’s claims.
“Gavin Casdorph is a young man who has been unfairly treated and the current accounts of him are wildly inaccurate,” Funt said in an email. “Once all the facts are presented his true nature will be revealed which will demonstrate unequivocally that he never intended any harm to anyone. We will not, however try this case in the press but rather will present all relevant information properly in a court of law. This case is far more complicated than has been suggested and it is inappropriate to comment any further at this time. “
A hearing on Casdorph’s detention is set for 1:30 p.m. Friday in Philadelphia.
Casdorph allegedly sent Tweets and emails on May 6, 2018, claiming to be “Brendan,” a Lafayette College student who converted to Islam, changed his name to Jafar Saleem, joined ISIS and threatened an attack on the campus. In the threatening communications, he said “I have set up several pipe bombs, pressure cookers and nail bombs around the campus and plan to inflict the utmost damage possible” at the Easton college.
The threats forced students to shelter in place and drew the attention of local law enforcement and the FBI. Authorities determined the plot was hatched when Casdorph was playing online video games with two other people, one of whom was a Lafayette student.
An argument ensued and a gamer going by the name “Neuroscientist” asked Casdorph to send in an anonymous threat to Lafayette College. Casdorph used a phone number he bought off a Russian website to set up accounts he used and TOR software to shield his identity, according to the FBI.
Casdorph was 20 years old when he was charged last year. He has been extradited from his home in Anchorage and is in federal prison in Philadelphia.