Man arrested for allegedly threatening shooting at Ohio Jewish center

Man arrested for allegedly threatening shooting at Ohio Jewish center
CNN Video

A 20-year-old man who allegedly threatened to carry out a shooting at a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Ohio, has been arrested, according to police.

James Patrick Reardon was booked into the Mahoning County Jail on Saturday on one count of telecommunications harassment and one count of aggravated menacing, according to online jail records.

New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio said an Instagram account, @ira_seamus, belonging to Reardon shared a video that showed a man firing a gun. The post, which was shown to an officer who was on an unrelated call, tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, D’Egidio told CNN in an interview. Youngstown is about 13 miles north of New Middletown.

Youngstown is also about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh, where a gunman targeted and killed 11 worshipers in a synagogue last October.

According to Andy Lipkin, the executive vice-president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, the post was accompanied by a caption that read, “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.” That is a Gaelic version of Reardon’s name.

The video appears to show Reardon firing a weapon. Screams and sirens can be heard in the background of the video.

The officer’s viewing the video is what “kicked off” the investigation, D’Egidio said.

“With everything going on,” D’Egidio said, “we wanted to make sure we acted very quickly on this.”

Instagram account contained anti-Semitic comments

When authorities looked at the rest of the Instagram account, there were lots of images of Reardon or someone else shooting guns, D’Egidio said, and lots of anti-Semitic comments and white nationalist content.

New Middletown police contacted the community center, Youngstown police and the FBI to make them aware of the threat. The Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force also helped, the police chief said, which is part of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.

“For a town of 1,700 people, this was a pretty intense situation,” D’Egidio told CNN.

Authorities knew based on public records that Reardon owned weapons, the police chief said, and they executed a search warrant at his home around 10:30 p.m. Friday night.

Reardon’s mother answered the door, and he arrived about 20 minutes after the search had started, D’Egidio said. There, police found a cache of weapons and ammunition.

Reardon was ultimately arrested without incident and taken to the county jail. His bond has been set at $250,000, and D’Egidio said he will be arraigned Monday morning.

It was unclear whether Reardon was represented by an attorney.

Reardon calls himself a white nationalist in a documentary

Reardon appeared in a 2017 National Geographic documentary about the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, D’Egidio told CNN. The documentary is accompanied by an essay by Katie Couric.

D’Egidio told CNN he can confirm that Reardon is the individual being interviewed. He said he based his identification on knowing Reardon since a young age and recognizing his face.

D’Egidio has not spoken to Reardon directly about the video.

In the documentary, an 18-year-old Reardon tells an interviewer that he doesn’t consider himself a neo-Nazi, but he considers himself a white nationalist and a member of the alt-right.

“I want a homeland for white people, and I think every race should have a homeland for their race,” Reardon said in the video.

He went on to say there’s a “demographic decline” going on not only in the US, but in Europe as well.

“We need someplace that can be a white homeland or we will be bred out,” he said.

‘The system worked’

In the meantime, The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation said it had arranged for extra security personnel to be present at the community center and area synagogues.

The federation’s Lipkin thanked law enforcement in a statement for their “swift and strong response to this matter and for their continued willingness to keep the lines of communication open at all times.”

“While we have no comment about Mr. Reardon and the criminal justice process that will determine what charges might be brought against him, I want to stress today that this is a clear example of everything going right. The system worked,” Lipkin said.

“The positive result here is a clear example of the importance of monitoring social media to identify credible, hate-fueled threats before they are acted on,” he added.