A New Middletown Village man was arrested Aug. 17 after police said he made a threat toward the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown at 505 Gypsy Lane in Youngstown.
James Reardon, Jr., 20, was being held in Mahoning County Jail in Youngstown on telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing charges, according to two Youngstown television stations.
New Middletown 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 with the caption: “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon,” according to WKBN and WFMJ.
The post tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown.
The television stations reported that a warrant was issued Aug. 16 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.
Reardon was not home during the search, but arrived home shortly after law enforcement arrived and he was taken into custody, the television stations reported.
Reardon is being held on $250,000 bond with a court hearing planned Aug. 19, the television stations said.
New Middletown is about 14 miles south of Youngstown and about 175 miles north of Columbus..
The Gyspy Lane campus also includes: the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation; Levy Gardens, an assisted-living facility; Heritage Manor, a nursing home; Akiva Academy, a Jewish day school; and Jewish Family Services.
Andy Lipkin, executive vice president of the federation, sent a statement to the Youngstown Jewish community about the incident on Aug. 17.
He told the Cleveland Jewish News on Aug. 17 that additional security was on the campus, at area synagogues and a swim club 2 miles away as well on Shabbat. He said security will remain increased for the “near future.”
At a news conference Aug. 17, Lipkin read the following statement:
“At approximately 5:30 p.m. yesterday, (federation security director) Rob Elston received a call from a law enforcement colleague to inform him of a concerning post that was discovered on Instagram. The concerning material was posted on July 11 of this year by someone with the Instagram name ira_seamus. We subsequently learned that ira_seamus was an online pseudonym for James Patrick Reardon.
“The post contained a video of a man shooting what appeared to be a firearm with the capability of discharging multiple rounds in a short time span The caption of the post states: ‘Police identified the Youngstown Jewish family community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.’
“Rob immediately contacted (JCC Director) Mike Rawl. Mike and Rob then immediately notified the Youngstown Police Department, the Liberty Police Department and the FBI. Mike also immediately spoke with me, (federation board President) Rick Marlin, JCC board President Alan Mirkin, (federation community relations director) Bonnie Burdman and Heritage Manor Director Cristal Vincent. He then briefed the leadership of the local synagogues – El Emeth in Liberty, which also houses the Children of Israel Congregation, Rodef Sholom in Youngstown and Ohev Tzedek in Boardman. We arranged for extra uniformed security personnel to be stationed at the JCC and at all the synagogues.
“Later in the evening last night, I convened a meeting with Rob, Mike, and Bonnie to further discuss the developing situation. We remained in constant contact with the FBI and local law enforcement throughout the night and today, leading up to the arrest of Mr. Reardon. I want to stress that we know of no other threat to the Jewish community or to any of our agencies at this point it time. Nonetheless, I have directed that we maintain the additional level of security for the near future.
“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. We take very seriously the need to be vigilant to ensure the safety of all members of the local Jewish community, as well as all members and guests of our Jewish Community Center and our other agencies. Security has become a vital part of the mission of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, a mission from which we will never waver.
“I am so very grateful to the local FBI and law enforcement for their swift and strong response to this matter and for their continued willingness to keep the lines of communication open at all times. It is because of their efforts that a very positive resolution to this matter has occurred. 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.
“I am tremendously appreciative of all the leadership of the Jewish Federation – Rick Marlin and others – who strongly support our mission and provide us with the capacity to do all the good work we do on behalf of the community. I also want to acknowledge the members of my staff who, without hesitation, stepped up immediately and professionally to address this situation. While we would not normally be here today or working on the Sabbath, the circumstances obviously required our immediate attention.
“We would like to thank the following agencies for their help in this matter: New Middletown police; Youngstown police; Liberty police; Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigations; the Secure Community Network; and our colleagues in both the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Jewish communities.”
James Pasch, ADL Cleveland regional director, said in a statement, “Today’s arrest is reminder of the continued rise of white nationalism and violent extremism that we are seeing nation wide. The man whom authorities arrested today appears to have attended the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, where he announced to the world that he was a white nationalist who wanted, ‘a homeland for white people.’
"Just as we have in every moment since that Charlottesville rally, we will remain galvanized and energized in stopping white supremacists from spreading hate. We remain steadfast in our commitment to work side by side with law enforcement and community partners to continue to stop potential attacks and threats.”