NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Police arrested a man in New Middletown Saturday that they said made a perceived threat toward a local Jewish Community Center.
James Reardon, Jr., 20, is being held in the Mahoning County Jail on telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing charges.
Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio said Reardon posted a video July 11 on Instagram of a man shooting a semi-automatic rifle with sirens and screams in the background. The caption post read, “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.”
The post tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown.
“That kicked off an intense investigation, a very rapidly evolving investigation because of the way the world is,” said Chief Vince D’Egidio.
Police said the account was determined to belong to Reardon. The rest of his social media feed is filled with racial slurs and comments against minorities.
During their investigation, police said extra security was given to the Jewish Community Center.
Friday, a warrant was issued and the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force raided Reardon’s house on Eastwood Drive. Police seized dozens of rounds of ammo, several semi-automatic weapons, a gas mask and bulletproof armor.
They also found anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda.
“This is a person that has declared himself as a white nationalist. 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,” D’Egidio said.
Reardon took part in the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
He was interviewed for a documentary and said that he was a white nationalist, he wanted to see a homeland only established for whites and that his parents did not agree with his opinions.
Saturday afternoon, the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation spoke about the threats. They said they immediately contacted police and increased security at the Jewish Community Center, local synagogues and other Jewish facilities.
“I’m confident that we are 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,” said Andrew Lipkin from the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation.
Police said they intend to keep extra security at the Jewish Community Center for some time.
Reardon is being held on $250,000 bond with a court hearing planned Monday morning.
The FBI has not said yet if they’ll pursue federal charges.