Suspended Student Arrested, Charged with Making Bomb Threat at Western Illinois University

Peoria, Ill. – A suspended Western Illinois University student, Cameron McKoy, 18, of Chicago, has been charged by criminal complaint with making a bomb threat to a campus residence hall. McKoy was arrested this morning and made his initial appearance in federal court in Peoria this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge John A. Gorman. McKoy’s next court appearance is scheduled on Monday, Nov. 22, at 11:30 a.m. for preliminary and detention hearings.

The affidavit filed in support of the complaint alleges that on Oct. 25, 2010, McKoy used a telephone to make a bomb threat to Tanner Hall, a freshman dormitory on the campus of Western Illinois University in Macomb. The affidavit further alleges that an Internet address associated with McKoy was used to make a series of automated telephone calls containing threats to WIU residence halls from Oct. 25 to Nov. 11, 2010. According to the affidavit, each of the threats, to Tanner Hall and to Thompson Hall, was determined to be a hoax.

“University and law enforcement officials are trained and equipped to respond and take appropriate precautions to any threat to public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis of the Central District of Illinois. “Fortunately, in this incident, the alleged threat was determined to be a hoax; however, just as all threats are taken seriously, those who allegedly make such threats should expect to face equally serious and significant criminal charges.”

If convicted, the statutory penalty for making a bomb threat is up to 10 years in prison.

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Western Illinois University Office of Public Safety. Agencies assisting in the response and investigation include the Illinois Secretary of State Bomb Squad, the Scott County Sheriff’s

Department, and the Adams County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greggory R. Walters in cooperation with the McDonough County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Members of the public are reminded that a complaint is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.