The man accused of threatening to shoot up a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Ohio, once appeared in a documentary on the Unite the Right rally, where he acknowledged being a white nationalist, police say.
New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio confirmed it is James Reardon, then 18, who appears in the 2017 National Geographic documentary about the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The chief has known Reardon since he was younger and recognized his face, he said.
In the documentary, Reardon tells an interviewer that he doesn’t consider himself a neo-Nazi, but he is a white nationalist and a member of the alt-right.
“I want a homeland for white people, and I think every race should have a homeland,” Reardon said.
He went on to say there’s a “demographic decline” going on not only in the US, but in Europe as well.
“We need someplace that can be a white homeland or we will be bred out,” he said.
Reardon, now 20, was booked into the Mahoning County Jail on Saturday on one count of telecommunications harassment and one count of aggravated menacing, according to online jail records.
The arrest came, police said, after an Instagram account belonging to Reardon featured a video of a man firing a gun. Screams and sirens can be heard in the background of the video.
The post tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, D’Egidio said. Youngstown is about 13 miles north of New Middletown.
The post was accompanied by a caption that read, “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon,” said Andy Lipkin, executive vice president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. Seamus O’Rearedon is a Gaelic version of Reardon’s name.
Instagram account contained anti-Semitic comments
After the post was brought to their attention, authorities looked at the rest of the posts on the account and discovered images of Reardon or someone else shooting guns, along with anti-Semitic comments and white nationalist content, D’Egidio said. New Middletown police then contacted their Youngstown counterparts and the FBI.
“For a town of 1,700 people, this was a pretty intense situation,” he said.
Public records indicated Reardon owned weapons, the police chief said, and they executed a search warrant at his home around 10:30 p.m. Friday.
Reardon’s mother answered the door, and he arrived about 20 minutes after the search had begun, D’Egidio said. Police found a cache of weapons and ammunition, the chief said.
Reardon was arrested and taken to the county jail. His bail was set at $250,000, and a judge said Monday that if Reardon makes bail or bond, he will be subject to house arrest with no work privileges. He must also consent to random searches of his home and computers, undergo drug tests, refrain from using social media and stay at least 500 feet away from any Jewish centers or places of worship.
The judge also ordered a psychological evaluation for Reardon and set the next court date for September 13.
The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation said it had arranged for extra security at the community center and area synagogues.
“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,” Lipkin said.