Ohio man arrested for implied shooting threat to Jewish center

Ohio man arrested for implied shooting threat to Jewish center

James Reardon posts video of gunfire and screams, tags it with name of Youngstown community building; police find guns, anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda in his home

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture of the Youngstown Jewish Community Center in Ohio. (Google Maps)
Screen capture of the Youngstown Jewish Community Center in Ohio. (Google Maps)

Ohio police on Saturday arrested a man they said had made a threat to a local Jewish Community Center by posting a video that featured gunfire and sounds of screaming while naming the center as the target of an imagined white nationalist shooting attack.

James Reardon, Jr., 20, was arrested on telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing charges and is being held in the Mahoning County Jail, local media reported.

His bail was set at $250,000, with a court hearing planned for Monday.

Police said Reardon posted a video on Instagram on July 11 that showed a man firing a semi-automatic rifle with sirens and screaming sounds in the background. A caption to the post read “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.”

The post also tagged the Youngstown JCC.

“He was implying that he was going to be identified as the shooter of the Jewish Center,” New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio said, according to the WFMJ television station. “That kicked off a very intensive investigation, a very rapidly evolving investigation.”

As the investigation was underway, extra security was deployed to the community center and synagogues in the area.

On Friday an arrest warrant was issued. At Reardon’s home, police found dozens of rounds of ammunition, several guns, a gas mask and a bulletproof vest. There was also white nationalist and anti-Semitic propaganda.

Despite the arrest, the extra security will remain in place at the JCC for the time being.

The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation thanked police and the Department of Homeland Security for what it said in a statement was “a clear example of everything going right. The system worked.”

Anti-Defamation League Cleveland Regional Director James Pasch said in a statement Saturday that “today’s arrest is reminder of the continued rise of white nationalism and violent extremism that we are seeing nation wide.”

Last month a Jewish man was injured in the leg by shots fired from a passing car as he waited outside a Florida synagogue. That shooting came months after deadly  shootings at two synagogues in the US.

Eleven people were killed and seven injured in the October 27, 2018, shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, in what was worst attack against Jewish people in the modern history of the United States.

On April 27, one person was killed and three others injured when a gunman opened fire at the Chabad of Poway, as the congregation celebrated the last day of Passover.

read more: