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Ohio man, one of three alleged thwarted mass shooters, faces charges in court

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By Peter Szekely

(Reuters) – An alleged self-described white nationalist is set to appear in an Ohio court on Monday to answer charges that he threatened to attack a Jewish community centre, one of three men in the United States accused of planning mass shootings in the past week.

James Reardon, 20, is scheduled to be arraigned in municipal court in Struthers, Ohio, by video link from a county jail in Youngstown, on charges of aggravated menacing and online harassment, the Mahoning County Court Clerk’s Office said.

Reardon, who was arrested on Saturday in his hometown of New Middletown, is being held on $250,000 bond, according to jail records.

He was arrested after investigators found a social media post in which he appeared to threaten the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, according to a statement from the Youngstown Area Jewish Foundation.

Television station WYTV in Youngstown reported that a local police chief said Reardon “declared himself a white nationalist” and that he participated in the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

The attack Reardon was allegedly planning would have come amid two other mass shootings that authorities claim to have thwarted in Florida and Connecticut in recent days, and follow three other shooting sprees since late July that took 34 lives.

Lawyers for Reardon and the other two suspects could not be reached.

In Florida, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested Tristan Wix, 25, of Daytona Beach on Friday after he texted a former girlfriend on Aug. 11 about plans to kill 100 people in a mass shooting.

“I’m not crazy I just wanna die and I wanna have fun doing it, but I’m the most patient person in the world,” the Sheriff’s Office said Wix wrote in a text.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said by email that a search of Wix’s home turned up a .22 caliber rifle belonging to his stepfather with about 400 rounds of ammunition.

Sheriff Michael Chitwood said Wix fit the profile of a mass shooter. “He lost his job, he lost his girlfriend, he’s depressed, he’s got the ammunition and he wants to become known for being the most prolific killer in American history,” he told CNN.

Wix, who faces a felony charge of threatening to kill or do bodily injury, is being held without bond. No further court date has been scheduled.

In Connecticut, authorities are holding Brandon Wagshol, 22, on $250,000 bond after Norwalk police said they arrested him last Thursday after he allegedly posted on Facebook an interest in committing a mass shooting. He faces four counts of possessing large-capacity magazines after a search of his home turned up a number of firearms and ammunition, police said.

The allegedly thwarted attacks follow three mass shootings, including incidents in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, within 13 hours of one another on Aug. 3 and 4, and a shooting in Gilroy, California, on July 28.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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