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A 20-Year-Old White Nationalist Was Arrested For Threatening To Attack A Jewish Center

Authorities seized several semiautomatic weapons, dozens of rounds of ammunition, a gas mask, and bulletproof armor.

Posted on August 18, 2019, at 1:58 p.m. ET

Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office

James Reardon

Police in Ohio arrested a self-avowed white nationalist Saturday, seizing weapons and dozens of rounds of ammunition, after he allegedly threatened to shoot up a Jewish community center in an Instagram post.

James Patrick Reardon, 20, was held at the Mahoning County Jail on charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing, according to jail records. His bond was set at $250,000, and he is set to appear in court Monday.

New Middletown Police began investigating Reardon after he posted a video on Instagram on July 11 that showed a man shooting a semiautomatic rifle, accompanied by sirens and screams, WYTV reported.

“Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon,” the caption on the post read. The location was tagged at the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown.

Instagram

As of Sunday, the post on the Instagram account that appeared to belong to Reardon remained public. The account’s bio section describes him as “Just a local IRA man trying to live his life,” and contains posts filled with anti-Semitic slurs, derogatory comments against minorities, and guns.

The FBI Violent Crimes Task Force raided Reardon’s house Friday and seized several semiautomatic weapons, dozens of rounds of ammunition, a gas mask, and bulletproof armor.

Authorities also recovered anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda from his house.

At around 5:30 p.m. Friday, the security director of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation received a call from a law enforcement officer informing him of the Instagram post. The federation’s officials contacted the FBI and local police and arranged for extra uniformed security personnel to be stationed at the Jewish community center and other local synagogues.

“That kicked off an intense investigation, a very rapidly evolving investigation because of the way the world is,” New Middletown Police Chief Vince D’Egidio told WYTV.

New Middletown Police and the FBI’s Ohio office did not immediately return BuzzFeed News’ requests for comment.

Reardon is a self-avowed white supremacist who attended the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, authorities said.

He was featured in a documentary where he stated that he was a white nationalist and wanted to see a homeland established only for whites, according to D’Egidio. In the documentary, Reardon reportedly said that his parents did not agree with his opinions.

“This is a person that has declared himself as a white nationalist,” D’Egidio said. “With the hate crimes and everything else going on, we want to make sure we do our part to make sure this person was taken off the streets very quickly.”

Reardon’s arrest on Saturday coincided with a far-right rally in Portland, Oregon, organized by the extremist group Proud Boys. Members of the group, known for inciting violence and clashing with anti-fascist demonstrators, had also attended the Charlottesville rally in 2017.

One post on Reardon’s Instagram account shows a man shooting a weapon at a VeggieTales book — the Christian animated series for children — while saying “fucking Jewish media” as laughter is heard in the background. The caption reads, “Veggie Tales is run and operated by the kikes.”

Instagram

“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,” Andrew Lipkin, the executive vice president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

“We’re confident that we’re doing what we need to do at this point, but the world has changed and we always have to assess what we are doing moving forward,” Lipkin said.

Lipkin said that there were no other known threats to the Jewish community in the area, but added that they were maintaining an “additional level of security for the near future.”

“We take very seriously the need to be vigilant to ensure the safety of all members of the local Jewish community,” he added.

The Youngstown Jewish Community Center is located about an hour away from the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh where a neo-Nazi opened fire last October, killing 11 people and injuring six others. The suspected gunman had railed against Jews, immigrants, and refugees and pushed a white supremacist agenda online.

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