NYC Jewish community terror threat averted

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Age: 65
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Location: Long Island, New York

19 Nov 2022, 6:14 pm

NYC Jewish community terror threat averted by suspects’ arrest at Penn Station

A “developing threat” to New York City’s Jewish community was averted by the arrests of two armed men at Penn Station, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Saturday.

Christopher Brown, 22, of Riverhead, L.I. and Matthew Mahrer, 22, of the Upper West Side were busted in the transit hub late Friday night, said police sources.

Brown, who was wearing a swastika armband when he was caught, was charged with making terroristic threats, harassment, and weapons possession, said the sources. The weapon was a large hunting knife, the sources said.

Mahrer, also 22, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, which sources said was an illegal Glock 17 firearm.

Brown and Mahrer were arrested by “sharp-eyed MTA police officers,” Sewell’s statement said. Besides the knife and gun, the pair also had a “30-round magazine, and several other items,” the commissioner said.

The threat by the two men was uncovered Friday by state and federal law enforcement, Sewell said.

Authorities “moved swiftly to gather information, identify those behind it, and operationally neutralize their ability to do harm,” Sewell’s statement said.

What Brown and Mahrer intended to do with their weapons was not made clear in the statement.

Police commanders are “strategically deploying assets at sensitive locations throughout New York City,” Sewell said.

A police bulletin issued Friday and posted to Twitter on Saturday by City Council member Ari Kagan (D-Brooklyn) identified Brown as a suspect, and said he has a history of mental illness. Brown had threatened synagogues in the New York area, the bulletin said.

This is very bad, very bad news,” said a woman who lives in the building and asked to remain anonymous.

“I don’t feel safe about this, having a Nazi in this building. You never know what is going to happen,” the woman said.

Saturday’s arrests come weeks after the FBI said it had “credible information of a broad threat to synagogues in N.J.,” prompting Mayor Adams to announce that NYPD officers were sent to Jewish communities and houses of worship “out of an abundance of caution.”

New Jersey federal agents on Nov. 10 arrested Sayreville, N.J. resident Omar Alkattoul, 18, on federal charges of making a threat to attack a synagogue “based on his hatred of Jews.”

Celebrities’ writing and social media activity have amplified a number of anti-Semitic incidents in recent months.

Anti-Semites have cited West’s musings in their propaganda, the Anti-Defamation League reports. For example, flyers saying “Kanye 2024″ were distributed in Rhode Island last week, the group said.

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