A deranged Michigan Wolverines fan who threatened to shoot Ohio State University football players during a college football showdown has been sentenced to prison, federal prosecutors said.
Daniel Lee Rippy, a 29-year-old Michigan native, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to one year and one day in prison for the Facebook threats pertaining to OSU players and then head coach, Urban Meyer during the Buckeyes’ 2018 game against the Wolverines at Ohio Stadium, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
Rippy, of Livermore, California, was not at the game, but threatened to injure or kill players about a half-hour into the Nov. 24, 2018, contest as OSU was leading the University of Michigan 7-3, according to court documents cited by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“Your school is going to get shot the f–k up and I’m seriously going to hurt the students and all the players from the football team,” Rippy wrote on Facebook, court records show.
Prosecutors said Rippy also threatened relatives of OSU players and Meyer in other messages, but was ultimately determined not to pose an immediate danger at the game, which OSU later won 62-39.
“In the middle of Ohio State’s annual rival game with the University of Michigan and with more than 100,000 fans in the stadium, law enforcement suddenly had a potential threat of a shooting,” US Attorney David DeVillers said. “Because of Rippy, law enforcement officials at the stadium were placed on high alert and re-allocated resources to investigate the threat.”
Rippy, who was arrested in California in December, pleaded guilty in July to making a threat in interstate communications. He had faced up to five years in prison, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
A judge said the threats were serious since they occurred around other mass shootings at schools and the ease of procuring weapons.
“It’s not just a fan rooting for his team against another team,” Judge Algenon Marbley told Rippy, according to the Dispatch. “It’s someone who has threatened to take the lives of people he [doesn’t] know, simply because they’re representing an institution of higher learning … We have to take this seriously because it happens.”
Rippy admitted in a sentencing memorandum that he “sometimes gets angry” about his sports teams, but insisted he would never put those threats into actions, the Dispatch reported.
A few days prior to the OSU game, Rippy also made similar threats on a Gonzaga University social media site after his favored Duke lost to the Bulldogs. Rippy insisted he was having a bad day and made threats he didn’t mean, prosecutors told the newspaper.
“I feel really bad about it,” Rippy said. “I know I affected a lot of people. I’m really sorry for that … I have learned my lesson.”
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