Discord Aids FBI in Thwarting 13-Year-Old’s Alleged Synagogue Mass Shooting Plot

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A 13-year-old Ohio boy is now facing criminal charges after allegedly crafting a detailed plan for a mass shooting at Temple Israel in Canton. The incident unfolded in September and was brought to light through an incident report and court documents.

The teenager, identified as J.R. in a criminal complaint due to his age, has been charged in Stark County juvenile court with inducing panic and disorderly conduct. According to court documents, Discord, a popular messaging platform, played a crucial role in the prevention of the plot.

The platform reported the teen to law enforcement in early September after he created a detailed plan to carry out a mass shooting at the Temple Israel. Discord’s Counter-Extremism analysts proactively detected, removed, and reported the user to the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center, leading to the teen’s arrest.

John Redgrave, Discord’s vice president of trust and safety, stated, “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 court documents reveal that the teen posted the detailed plan on Discord, causing significant public alarm when authorities notified the community and the school system.

The plan included intentions to “burn and shoot up” the synagogue, as outlined in a September 7 incident report from the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.

An FBI agent sought support from the sheriff’s office to address the threats made by the suspect.

Authorities visited the suspect’s residence, discussing their findings with the teen, including plans and maps of the synagogue shared through Discord. The 13-year-old now faces misdemeanor charges of inducing panic and disorderly conduct in connection with the September 1 incident. The trial is set to take place in juvenile court on December 20.

The seriousness of the teen’s intentions and whether any weapons were found during the arrest remain unclear. Discord’s proactive approach in reporting the user highlights the platform’s commitment to preventing hate and violence.

The incident occurred more than a month before Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza, contributing to a surge in anti-Semitic threats across the United States.

The Anti-Defamation League documented over 2,000 antisemitic incidents in the two months following the conflict, emphasizing the need to address hate and threats both online and in real life.

The Anti-Defamation League in Cleveland expressed horror at the alleged mass shooting plot and commended law enforcement for their thorough investigation. In a statement, the group emphasized a zero-tolerance stance against hate and threats on social media, reinforcing the importance of combating such incidents for the safety of communities.

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