STRUTHERS - A 20-year-old New Middletown man accused of pretending to be involved in a shooting at an area Jewish community center entered a not guilty plea in court Monday afternoon.
James Reardon was arrested by New Middletown police Friday and is facing charges of local telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing.
“This is a small wonderful community and this made my heart sink when I saw the video,” New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D'Egidio told Fox 8.
He said on Friday a concerned citizen told an officer about a video posted to Reardon’s Instagram account on July 11. According to the chief, it showed a man shooting a semi-automatic rifle with sirens and screams in the background, with a caption and tag that indicated a threat to the Jewish Community Center in Youngstown.
The chief said they raided the home where Reardon lives and confiscated several weapons and ammunition.
The chief said Reardon was wearing a jacket with IRA patches on it when he was arrested.
Neighbors say Reardon was always very open about his politics.
“ He would get in screaming matches with his grandfather about politics,” said Tim McCoy , who knew Reardon for years. He said he is not surprised by the arrest. “I basically hoped it wouldn’t happen but I knew down the line of it continued down the road there was going to be an issue with the police.”
Andy Lipkin, the executive vice-president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation stated in a press release that officials arranged for extra uniformed security personnel to be stationed at the JCC and at all the Synagogues.
“ 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,” Lipkin stayed in the release. “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.”
Bond was set at $250,000. If the bond is posted, James Reardon will be under house arrest without work privileges.
He is due back in court, September 13, at 10 a.m.
Reardon's family appeared in court Monday for his hearing but declined to comment.