James Reardon, the Ohio man arrested after threatening to attack the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, claimed connections to the IRA on social media.
A 20-year-old Ohio man and self-identified white nationalist arrested on Saturday, August 17 after sharing a threatening post about a local Jewish community center on social media claimed to have an affinity with the IRA.
New Middletown Police said that when they arrested James Reardon, Jr. at his mother's home he was wearing a jacket with Irish Republican Army (IRA) patches.
They had received a tip from a concerned citizen that Reardon shared a threatening post on his Instagram account, where he went by the handle "IRA Seamus," Seamus being the Irish equivalent of James. His profile description read "Seamus O’Rearedon. Just a local IRA man trying to live his life."
On July 11, Reardon shared a video that showed a man firing a gun while screaming and sirens could be heard in the background. His caption read "Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon”.
When police began investigating Reardon, they discovered a number of racist posts. “There were several videos that he posted on Instagram where he used a lot of derogatory remarks towards the Jewish community, and the African-American community, things of that nature,” New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio said.
They also learned that Reardon had attended the white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, at which activist Heather Hayer was killed when a neo-Nazi drove his car into a group of people protesting the rally.
After searching Reardon's mother's home, the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force found and confiscated two AR-15s, a rifle with a bayonet, a .40-caliber antitank gun, knives, a gas mask, a bulletproof vest, and multiple rounds of ammunition, in addition to anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda.
Reardon was charged with telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing and is being held in the Mahoning County Jail on $250,000 bond. On Monday, he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Fox 8 Cleveland reports that he is due back in court on September 13 and will be under house arrest without work privileges if his bond is posted.
"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 this person was taken off the streets very quickly," chief D'Egidio said.
Speaking with Fox 8, a neighbor, Tim McCoy, said that he was not surprised by the arrest.
“He would get in screaming matches with his grandfather about politics...I basically hoped it wouldn’t happen but I knew down the line if it continued down the road there was going to be an issue with the police.”