Teen’s Mass Shooting Plan for Synagogue Stopped Just in Time

CANTON, OH – A 13-year-old boy from Canton, Ohio, has been apprehended by authorities after he posted a meticulously crafted plan on the internet to execute a mass shooting at a local synagogue. The minor, whose name is being withheld due to his age, is facing charges of inciting panic and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. His pretrial hearing is set for December 20 in Stark County Family Court.

The Stark County Sheriff’s Office responded to a September 7 report of a teenage boy issuing threats on social media against Temple Israel in Canton, as per a WKYC report. The court documents reveal that the boy had formulated a detailed plan for a mass shooting at the synagogue on the Discord platform, leading to significant public alarm and necessitating an immediate response from law enforcement and notification of public individuals and agencies, including the school system.

The boy’s family, who opted not to appear on camera, portrayed the teenager as a “good, smart kid” who regularly attended church. They believe he was profoundly influenced by older men on Discord, a social media platform that facilitates voice calls, video calls, and text messages.

Employees of Discord brought the boy’s online discussions to the attention of the FBI, during which he disclosed his plans to destroy or attack the synagogue. He was reportedly conspiring with an unidentified individual from Washington state.

The Cleveland Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed its dismay at the news of a young teenager plotting a mass shooting at a synagogue and expressed its gratitude to law enforcement for their investigation. The organization hopes that this incident can serve as a wake-up call for young people, emphasizing that hate and threats on social media, just like in real life, will not be tolerated.

The ADL has recorded a significant surge in antisemitic incidents following the surprise attack by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,200 people and the abduction of around 240 others. From the day of the attack to November 7, 2024, the ADL documented 832 antisemitic incidents, a 316% increase from the 200 incidents reported during the same period in 2024.