A 20-year-old self-identified white nationalist was arrested after he allegedly made threats against a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Ohio.
James Reardon Jr. was arrested by New Middletown Police after posting a video on Instagram on July 11. In the short video, Reardon can be seen firing a gun as the sounds of screams and sirens are heard in the background, according to The New York Times. He captioned the video, “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.”
The video, which was tagged with the location of the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, made reference to Reardon’s online pseudonym “I-R-A Seamus.”
New Middletown Police Chief Vince D’Egidio told WFMJ that Reardon’s video and caption prompted a “very intensive … very rapidly evolving investigation.” The Youngstown Police Department and the FBI searched Reardon’s mother’s home in New Middletown and seized two AR-15s, a rifle with a bayonet, a 40-caliber anti-tank gun, and knives.
Authorities also confiscated several magazines, 223 rounds of ammunition, a gas mask, a bulletproof vest, and Reardon’s electronic devices. According to WFMJ, police also found a flask bearing the Confederate flag and a jacket with Irish Republican Army (IRA) patches on it.
“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,” D’Egidio said.
Andy Lipkin, the executive vice president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, told The New York Times that his staff learned of the video on August 16. The staff called law enforcement, briefed local synagogues, and obtained extra uniformed security.
“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,” Andy Lipkin said in a statement released by the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Cleveland office.
“It is because of their efforts that a very positive resolution to this matter has occurred,” he continued. “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.”
Reardon was arrested and charged with aggravated menacing and telecommunications harassment with the purpose to abuse, threaten, or annoy, according to Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office records. He is being held on $250,000 bond in Mahoning County Jail. It is unclear if he will face federal charges.
In 2017, Reardon appeared in the National Geographic documentary about the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he identified as a white nationalist. During the video, Reardon said that his parents, a union teacher and a blue-collar worker, opposed his views.
“I want a homeland for white people, and I think every race should have a homeland,” Reardon said in the video. He said he does not consider himself a neo-Nazi.
“This is a person that has declared himself as a white nationalist,” D’Egidio said, according to CBS News. “With the hate crimes and everything else going on, we want to make sure we did our part to make sure this person was taken off the streets very quickly.”
James Pasch, the regional director of ADL Cleveland, said the arrest was a reminder of the rise of white nationalism and violent extremism across the US.
“Just as we have in every moment since that Charlottesville rally, we will remain galvanized and energized in stopping white supremacists from spreading hate,” Pasch said in a statement. “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.”
The ADL did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for additional comment.
During a court hearing on August 19, a judge said that if Reardon makes bail or bond, he will be placed under house arrest with no work privileges, CNN reported. Reardon will have to consent to random searches of his home and computers, undergo drug tests, stay off social media, and remain at least 500 feet from Jewish centers or places of worship.
The judge also ordered Reardon to undergo a psychological evaluation. The next court date was scheduled for September 13.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.