A driver for a ride-sharing service used his Facebook page to threaten Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others, hinting that he hoped to commit an act of violence before traveling to Pakistan, according to a recently unsealed federal complaint.
Mohammad Waqas Khan, who is around 30 and from the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, should remain behind bars pending trial, a US magistrate judge ruled at a detention hearing Monday in Chicago.
Khan wrote on May 13 that Emanuel had "led the city of Chicago down the road to perdition," the complaint says. He also calls the mayor and unnamed Chicago aldermen "rabid dogs," and adds, "You shall be taught a lesson you will not forget!" Khan also allegedly expressed disgust with American and Pakistani politicians, though no one else is mentioned by name in the complaint.
Defense attorney Ellen Domph told Monday's hearing that Khan's words weren't serious. She even suggested they could have been rap lyrics.
The complaint isn't clear about possible motives.
It quotes several messages in which Khan seems to suggest he wanted acts of violence that would draw widespread attention.
On May 7 he wrote, "I'm not killin sum bum on the street. I want a net worth individual to shoot. I want this to be a real human tragedy. Much mourned." But on another occasion he points to the source of his fury as "noise pollution around my house."
The 10-page complaint describes federal surveillance of Khan, including as he picked up and drove ride-share customers.
His arrest in mid-May, the complaint suggests, was hastened by his purchase of a plane ticket to fly from Chicago to Pakistan on June 8.
He allegedly wrote on Facebook, "I'm not leaving America without getting revenge even if it costs me my life."
The complaint says the DuPage County Sherriff's Office first arrested Khan on May 14, including on charges he had a loaded semi-automatic pistol in his car in violation of Illinois' concealed-carry law.
He was later charged federally with transmitting a threatening communication.
The complaint gives Khan's age as 29, though the Federal Bureau of Prisons record indicates he is 30.