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Ohio man pleads not guilty to threatening Jewish centre in video

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A 20-year-old man pleaded not guilty Monday to threatening a Jewish community centre in a video that authorities say showed him shooting a semi-automatic rifle.

A judge near Youngstown set bond at US$250,000 for James Reardon, ordered a mental health evaluation and told him to stay away from Jewish houses of worship and organizations if he is released from jail.

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Police arrested Reardon Saturday on charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing, a day after a Jewish organization contacted authorities.

Ammunition, semi-automatic weapons, a gas mask and anti-Semitic information were found at a house in New Middleton where he lives with his mother, police said.

New Middletown police said the video posted on Reardon’s Instagram account last month included the sounds of sirens and screaming with the caption: “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.”

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The post tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown.

The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation said it found out about the threat on Friday and alerted the police and FBI. The organization said it later learned that “ira_seamus” was an online pseudonym for James 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,” said Andy Lipkin, the federation’s executive vice-president. “”Nonetheless, I have directed that we maintain the additional level of security for the near future.“

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Reardon was arraigned by video in Struthers Municipal Court.

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A message seeking comment was left with his attorney. There was no answer at a phone number for his mother, and a man who answered a number listed for his father hung up.

Media outlets in Youngstown reported that Reardon attended the 2017 white nationalist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia.

New Middletown Police Chief Vince D’egidio told WFMJ-TV that Reardon has posted several videos in which he used derogatory remarks toward the Jewish and African American communities.

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