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Columbus man arrested for allegedly making anti-Semitic threats toward school

Thomas Develin worked as a private security guard for Columbus Torah Academy.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus man is charged with making terroristic threats after anti-Semitic statements and photos were found posted by him on social media.

Court documents say Thomas Develin, 24, posted photos of himself posing with a semi-automatic handgun on March 11 while he was working as a private security guard for Columbus Torah Academy in east Columbus. The posts were found on the social media platform, Discord. 

According to the court documents, Develin posted statements that said, "I'm at a Jewish school and about to make it everyone's problem," and, "The playground is about to turn into a self-defense situation." 

Court documents also state Develin posted comments saying he "wanted to shoot parents coming to pick up their children." 

JewishColumbus later released a statement, calling the incident a "cowardly act of intimidation," and saying it is working in close contact with law enforcement as the investigation continues. 

"For far too long Jews have been mentally and physically intimidated in spaces online, at schools, universities and in our community," the statement reads in part "Virulent antisemitic rhetoric breeds extremism and has no place in our community." 

"We are a proud and diverse Jewish community," it goes on to say. "We stand resolute against antisemitism and remain committed to safeguarding our institutions. It is our right to live peacefully as Jews and we will not cower to intimidation. Our Jewish community is here to stay and we will not be silenced."

The Columbus Torah Academy also released a statement to 10TV, saying immediate actions were taken to identify the source of the threat and that there is currently no risk to the campus. 

Security will be provided by the Columbus Division of Police on Friday, Columbus Torah Academy officials added. 

The Anti-Defamation League said that, while members are thankful no lives were taken, the threat is a "reminder of the ongoing security challenges facing the Jewish community." 

"For millennia, Jews have been threatened, intimidated, and persecuted," a statement from the Anti-Defamation League reads in part. "This is yet another sobering reminder that antisemitism left unchecked breeds extremism and violence. Antisemitism has no place in Columbus, Ohio, or anywhere. We will continue to work tirelessly to stamp out antisemitism whenever, and wherever we see it." 

Develin enlisted in the Ohio National Guard in October 2016. The guard released a statement to 10TV, saying it was aware of the alleged actions by Develin and no further comment will be provided. 

Develin was arraigned Friday in Franklin County Municipal Court and is being held on $1 million bond. 

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