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13 Year Old Ohio Teen Charged After Alleged Plans to Shoot Up Synagogue

A 13-year-old boy in Ohio is facing criminal charges after allegedly crafting “a detailed plan” for a mass shooting at a synagogue in September, according to an incident report and court documents obtained by CNN.

The teen, whom authorities have not publicly identified, posted “a detailed plan to complete a mass shooting” at Temple Israel in Canton, the court documents state. The defendant posted the plan on the social media platform Discord, and when authorities notified public individuals and agencies and the school system, it caused “significant public alarm,” according to the documents.

He allegedly planned to “burn and shoot up” the place of worship, according to a September 7 incident report from the Stark County Sheriff’s Office. The report states an FBI agent requested the support of the sheriff’s office in making contact with the suspect “in regards to threats to burn and shoot up” the synagogue. The partially redacted report identified the suspect as a White male.

Authorities contacted the suspect and his mother at their home, the incident report said, and the FBI agent “went over his findings” with the teen, which “included plans and maps of the synagogue made possibly by the suspect and an unknown individual from Washington State sent through the app Discord.”

The 13-year-old is charged with misdemeanor counts of inducing panic and disorderly conduct in the September 1 incident, according to court documents. CNN has reached out to the teen’s attorney for comment.

Its unclear if any weapons were found when the teen was arrested or how serious the intentions were.

In a statement, Discord said it reported the user to the FBI.

“Discord’s Counter-Extremism analysts proactively detected, removed, and reported this user to the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center, which is what led to the user’s arrest,” John Redgrave, Discord’s vice president of trust and safety, said in a statement to CNN.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy against hate and violent extremism, and when we see it, we take immediate action. It is a top priority for Discord to ensure a safe experience for our users,” the statement said.

The sheriff’s department report claimed the teen suspect advised authorities “he was part of multiple anti-Semitic and political groups on Discord.”

The story was earlier reported by CNN affiliate WOIO and local outlet WKYC.

The Stark County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday its deputies responded to a Plain Township residence on September 7 in connection with a report about a 13-year-old boy “engaging in concerning conversations (on) a social media platform.”

The case is expected to go to trial in juvenile court on December 20, the statement said.

“We stand by a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to threats made against our community,” said Stark County Sheriff George Maier. “Every threat is investigated thoroughly with the seriousness it deserves.

“We work diligently to ensure that those responsible are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Protecting our community is a responsibility we bear with the highest level of commitment and vigilance,” the sheriff added.

The incident came more than a month before Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and Israel’s ensuing war in Gaza, a conflict that has sparked a surge of antisemitic and other threats across the United States. With the war now in its third month, there has been an increase in reported incidents targeting Jews, Arabs and Muslims in the US.

More than 2,000 antisemitic incidents have been documented in the US in the two months after the conflict began October 7 – a 337% increase over the same period last year, the Anti-Defamation League said. And the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported an “unprecedented” spike in bias incidents in the month after the war began and has tallied more than 2,000 requests for help and reports of bias since, it said.

Of the alleged mass shooting plot in Ohio, the Anti-Defamation League in Cleveland was “horrified” and thanked law enforcement for “its thorough investigation,” the group said in a statement Wednesday.

“For young people like this suspect, we hope this can be a teachable moment,” the group said. “Hate and threats on social media, as in real life, cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/14/us/ohio-synagogue-13-year-old-shooting-plot-charges/index.html