Ohio man charged with threatening Jewish community center
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[August 19, 2019]
By Joseph Ax
(Reuters) - An Ohio man who authorities
said is a self-described white nationalist is in custody on charges that
he threatened to attack a local Jewish community center.
James Reardon, 20, was being held on $250,000 bond on Sunday on charges
of aggravated menacing and online harassment, according to records from
the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities found weapons, ammunition, body armor and a gas mask at his
house, local media reported.
Reardon was arrested in his hometown of New Middletown late on Friday
after investigators became aware of a post on Instagram that appeared to
threaten the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, according to a
statement from the Youngstown Area Jewish Foundation.
A user named "ira_seamus" uploaded a video in July showing a man
shooting what looked like a semi-automatic rifle, with the sound of
screaming and sirens audible over the gunfire. The caption read, "Police
identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white
nationalist Seamus O'Rearedon."
"We subsequently learned that ira_seamus was an online pseudonym for
James Patrick Reardon," Andy Lipkin, the Jewish federation executive
vice president, said in a statement. Lipkin said he and other federation
officials stayed in "constant contact" with local authorities and the
FBI on Friday evening while arranging for increased security at the JCC
and other area facilities.
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It was not immediately clear whether Reardon had a defense attorney.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed the
agency assisted in the investigation but declined to offer details.
Police in New Middletown were not immediately available for comment.
Other posts on the Instagram account included anti-Semitic and
racist comments, according to WYTV, a local ABC affiliate in
Reardon participated in the violent white nationalist rally in
Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, the station reported.
"This is a person that has declared himself as a white nationalist,"
the police chief in New Middletown, Vincent D'Egidio, told the
station. "With the hate crimes and everything else going on, we want
to make sure we do our part to make sure we did our part to make
sure this person was taken off the streets very quickly."
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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