A 13-year-old boy was arrested after plotting to carry out a mass shooting at a Canton, Ohio, synagogue, and posting detailed plans of the attack on social media, according to authorities.
The boy faces misdemeanor charges of inducing panic and disorderly conduct in connection with the scheme aimed at Temple Israel. His family court trial is tentatively scheduled to start on 20 December, the Canton Repository newspaper reported.
Investigators began scrutinizing the teen after he published “a detailed plan to complete a mass shooting” at Temple Israel on about 1 September, according to court records obtained by the Ohio news station WKYC. The partially redacted records said the plan appeared on the social media platform Discord, and there was “significant public alarm” after authorities notified the school system where the child studied, along with others.
Local sheriff’s office deputies didn’t indicate whether they found any guns near the boy when they soon arrested the child. It also wasn’t immediately clear whether the child – who hasn’t been identified because of his age – took any steps beyond planning the attack on Temple Israel.
Temple Israel’s rabbi, David Komerofsky, declined to comment on the plot naming his synagogue because the case implicates a child, he said to the Repository newspaper.
The juvenile defendant’s arrest came about five weeks before Hamas’s 7 October attacks in Israel – and the subsequent Israeli military campaign in Gaza – ignited a surge of antisemitic and Islamophobic episodes across the US.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Monday issued a statement saying it has documented more than 2,000 reports of antisemitism in the US in the eight weeks after the Israel-Gaza conflict erupted – a 337% increase over the same period in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations recently said it documented more than 2,000 requests for help and reports of bias since the start of the conflict. The organization described that volume as an “unprecedented” spike.
A statement from the ADL’s chapter in Cleveland, about 60 miles from Ohio, said the group was “horrified” to learn of the plans to shoot up Temple Israel.
The Cleveland ADL’s statement thanked law enforcement for the “thorough investigation” that filed the potentially deadly plot.
“For young people like this suspect, we hope this can be a teachable moment,” the statement said. “Hate and threats on social media, as in real life, cannot and will not be tolerated.”
Statistics maintained by the Gun Violence Archive show there had more than 635 mass shootings in the US so far this year as of Thursday – a pace of more than one daily. The archive, a nonpartisan online resource, defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more victims are slain or wounded.
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