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'Chilling': Members of central Ohio’s Jewish community react to arrest of Columbus Torah Academy security guard

Members of central Ohio’s Jewish community say they are thankful law enforcement stepped in to prevent tragedy.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — We're learning more about the school security guard charged with making terroristic threats after anti-Semitic statements and photos were found posted by him on social media.

Thomas Develin, 24, was enlisted in the Ohio National Guard in 2016 as an Air Defense Battle Management System Operator based in McConnelsville. That's according to the Ohio National Guard -- which also said it “immediately notified law enforcement upon learning of alleged criminal activity involving at least one member."

According to court documents, Develin is accused of posting statements online that said, "I'm at a Jewish school and about to make it everyone's problem," and he "wanted to shoot parents coming to pick up their children."

Columbus police say he made threatening posts against multiple religious and ethnic minority groups in Franklin County. They say he was arrested Thursday after SWAT teams did a search warrant. Weapons were recovered.

10TV spoke to the CEO of JewishColumbus, an organization that helps provide funding for the school where Develin worked as a security guard.

"This guy had you know military service, the National Guard. On paper, he was a perfect candidate to provide security. Unfortunately what people do on the dark web and the anonymity of the dark web is untraceable won't bring that back in a background check,” said Joel Marcovitch, CEO, JewishColumbus.

10TV also spoke to ADL Ohio which says this anti-Semitic threat is a reminder of the ongoing security challenges facing the Jewish community.

They keep track of these incidents and say Ohio saw a record number in 2020.

Here's a snapshot of anti-Semitic incidents in Ohio from the last three years in Ohio; the Office of Criminal Justice Services also keeps track of these.

In 2019 there were 5.
In 2020 -- 11.
And last year -- 7.

The regional director for ADL Ohio said this arrest is chilling for the Jewish community and for parents that drop their kids off at Jewish day schools every morning.

"Although law enforcement stepped in, in time to prevent any physical harm from occurring, there are inevitably going to be emotional scars left with families and with children because of this incident,” said James Pasch, regional director ADL Ohio.

Develin was arraigned Friday morning and is being held on a $1 million bond.

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