Two Armed Men Arrested After Making Threats to New York Jews
A tense investigation into threats against Jewish targets made on social media was diffused early Shabbos morning when two men were arrested entering Penn Station in Manhattan. The pair were armed with a large knife, gun, 30 rounds of ammunition and Nazi paraphernalia.
Police had received information earlier Friday of threats made against shuls in New York on Twitter. Investigators identified the suspect as Christopher Brown, a 22-year-old upstate resident with a history of mental illness. He had informed family members that he intended to travel to the city and perpetrate a terrorist attack on a shul.
Police worked quickly to catch the suspect and said that they increased security at high-target areas. However, there was no visible evidence of tighter security in Boro Park.
The threats were passed onto Hatzolah by Ritchie Taylor, a lieutenant in the NYPD's community affairs unit. Hatzolah issued an email to its members on Friday night with a picture of the suspect and sent a message that its vaad harabbanim directed them to open the email on Shabbos.
Officers from the MTA police force arrested the suspects shortly afterward. Brown was charged with making terroristic threats and possession of a gun.
When Brown was arrested he was wearing a T-shirt which had on it in reverse lettering, “I have a gun and I’m schizophrenic.”
Also arrested was Matthew Mahrer, 22, who was found with a weapon in his backpack.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell praised the “sharp-eyed” action of the FBI, NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force, and NYPD Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureau investigators.
Hatzalah thanks the NYPD and Inspector Richie Taylor along with the FBI for their work in notifying the community of Friday night’s near-attack.