Boy, 13, Charged After Allegedly Planning Mass Shooting in a Synagogue

Kevin Whitlock/The Independent via AP
Temple Israel Synagogue is seen, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, in Canton, Ohio, after charges came to light against a 13-year-old boy who allegedly planned a mass shooting targeting the synagogue, including drawing maps of the building, back in September.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — A 13-year old boy from Canton, Ohio, has been charged with allegedly planning a mass shooting of a local Jewish synagogue.

The teenager, who is unnamed in court documents because he is a minor, is charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. He’s accused of posting a “detailed plan to complete a mass shooting” at Temple Israel in Canton, a city south of Akron, on the live streaming platform Discord.

The charges come amid a rise of antisemitism in the United States and worldwide. In the U.S. alone, antisemitic incidents rose 35% from 2021 to 2022.

According to documents released by the Stark County Sherriff’s Office Thursday, an FBI agent alerted the department to the Discord posts on Sept. 7. The plans were initially posted on Sept. 1, and contained maps of the synagogue allegedly drawn by the boy and another individual in Washington state. They also included plans to burn down and “shoot up” the building.

When confronted by law enforcement, the boy admitted to being a part of multiple antisemitic and political groups on the platform, according to the documents. He was then arrested, and a trial hearing is set for Dec. 20.

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

An attorney for the boy did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

Temple Israel’s Rabbi, Komerofsky, declined to comment on the situation because it involves a minor.

In a statement on social media, the Anti-Defamation League of Cleveland said the organization is grateful for law enforcement’s swift action and that it hope it’s a “teachable” moment for young people .

“Hate and threats on social media, as in real life, cannot and will not be tolerated,” the league said in the statement.