STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – We often hear the phrase, “when you see something, say something.” Recently, that scenario worked to prevent what could have been a horrifying incident in the Valley.
Using their cruiser as a shield, body camera video captures Struthers police approaching a house on Grandview Avenue last month after learning a teenager living there was threatening a mass shooting.
Voice of officer: “Put your hands up, put your hands up. Walk to me. Keep your hands up high.”
We’ve learned that the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center had been alerted that the teenager was overheard posting racial and ethnic threats online.
Struthers police said that within minutes of being notified by the FBI, they went straight to the teenager’s home. They now believe they were only minutes, perhaps hours away from the teenager carrying out his threats.
“And thwarted what could have been a pretty massive incident,” said Struthers Police Chief Tim Roddy.
Officers searched the house, which was littered with clothing and debris. They eventually found a number of fully-loaded 9 mm magazines and two pistols.
Voice of officer: “The one that’s marked up ’14 blood sweat tears.’ Swastika. There’s a chambered round.”
Although the suspect denied planning any attacks, police said they recovered a cell phone with antisemitic rhetoric and Nazi propaganda, as well as a journal containing threats against the Jewish, Black and gay communities.
A further search of his phone uncovered a video where police claim the boy states he wanted to kill his father, steal his van and then shoot as many Black people as he could before driving to a synagogue to conduct a mass shooting.
The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation released the following statement on the matter.
“We are aware of the arrest of a Struthers, Ohio teen on charges of making terroristic threats, domestic violence, inducing panic, and possessing criminal tools, and that some of the threats were antisemitic in nature.
We do not believe there is a threat to the local Jewish community at this time. As always, our security team is working with local law enforcement to ensure the safety of all members of the local Jewish community, and all who work with and visit the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation and its agencies. We are grateful for our partnerships with local law enforcement, and will work with them to ensure the security of our entire Federation campus and to support their efforts to bring those responsible for antisemitic crimes to justice.”Andrew Lipkin, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation CEO
After spending two weeks undergoing a mental health evaluation, the teenager was moved to the Juvenile Justice Center, where he has a hearing later this week.
“We’re gonna work with them, gonna work with any kind of mental health care just to make sure that he’s getting the help that he needs,” Chief Roddy said.