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.
The post was accompanied by a caption that read, “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon,” said Andy Lipkin, executive vice president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. Seamus O’Rearedon 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
After the post was brought to their attention, authorities looked at the rest of the posts on the account and discovered images of Reardon or someone else shooting guns, along with anti-Semitic comments and white nationalist content, D’Egidio said. New Middletown police then contacted their Youngstown counterparts and the FBI.
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,” he said.
Public records indicated Reardon owned weapons, the police chief said, and they executed a search warrant at his home around 10:30 p.m. Friday.
Reardon’s mother answered the door, and he arrived about 20 minutes after the search had begun, D’Egidio said. Police found a cache of weapons and ammunition, the chief said.
Reardon was arrested and taken to the county jail. His bail was set at $250,000, and a judge said Monday that if Reardon makes bail or bond, he will be subject to house arrest with no work privileges. He must also consent to random searches of his home and computers, undergo drug tests, refrain from using social media and stay at least 500 feet away from any Jewish centers or places of worship.
It was unclear whether Reardon was represented by an attorney.
Reardon calls himself a white nationalist in a documentary
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’
The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation said it had arranged for extra security 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,” Lipkin said.