Friday, August 30, 2019
By Justin Dennis
In the New Middletown home of James P. Reardon Jr., investigators found two semi-automatic weapons, including a World War II-era German submachine gun, various pieces of Nazi propaganda including a Hitler Youth knife and other vintage military equipment, according to the man’s federal complaint unsealed Thursday.
Local and federal law- enforcement officials Thursday announced the self-proclaimed white nationalist and collector of World War II-era weaponry is facing a federal charge of transmitting threatening communications via interstate commerce for threatening a mass shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Youngstown.
On July 11, Reardon, 20, posted a video to his personal Instagram account, “ira_seamus,” in which he fired what appeared to be that MP40 submachine gun – commonly used by Nazi soldiers – coupled with what New Middletown Chief Vincent D’Egidio said looked to be a future headline: “Police identify shooter of Youngstown Jewish Family Center as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.” The video was also tagged at the JCC.
New Middletown police received the complaint at about 4 p.m. Aug. 16, D’Egidio said. By 10 p.m., a judge had issued a search warrant for Reardon’s home. By 11 p.m., he was in custody.
During Thursday’s press conference at the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Courthouse in Cleveland, D’Egidio said he was thankful for the person who reported Reardon’s online conduct.
“The adage of ‘see something, say something’ – this rang true 100 percent in this instance. We hopefully prevented a tragedy,” he said. “Everything went perfect, basically, by the book. This couldn’t have been written any better law enforcement-wise — not for Mr. Reardon.”
Herdman declined to comment specifically on any investigation into others with whom Reardon may be involved or whether additional charges were forthcoming.
Herdman said investigators have yet to determine who owns the firearms recovered from Reardon’s home. Reardon told officers the MP40 was his, according to the federal complaint.
Following his summary of the case, Herdman spoke directly to advocates of white supremacy:
“Your right to free speech does not automatically mean that people will agree with you. In fact, you have an absolute God-given and inalienable right to be on the losing end of this argument,” he said, later adding, “What you don’t have, though, is the right to take out your frustration at failure in the political arena by resorting to violence. You don’t have any right to threaten the lives and well-being of our neighbors.”
The Youngstown Area Jewish Foundation said Thursday, “We are grateful law enforcement took the threat posed by James Reardon Jr. seriously, and have confidence in the legal process. We are thankful this is a case where everything went right. The outpouring of support from the community, locally, statewide and nationally, is greatly appreciated.”
Reardon remains in federal custody at the Mahoning County jail, segregated from the general jail population.
He’s set for arraignment Sept. 6 before U.S. Magistrate George J. Limbert in the Thomas D. Lambros Federal Courthouse in Youngstown, court records show.
Also set for arraignment today in that court is Justin Olsen, 18, of Boardman, accused threatening gun violence against federal officers online.
He was arrested earlier this month and also remains in federal custody at the county jail.