Guard at Jewish school arrested after reportedly threatening to shoot students, parents

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(Video Credit: WBNS 10TV)

Thomas Develin, who is a former National Guardsman and until recently worked as a security guard at an Ohio private Jewish school, was busted after allegedly making antisemitic terrorist threats online, expressing a desire to shoot students and parents.

Develin worked at the Columbus Torah Academy which teaches K-12 students. He was accused on Friday of threatening to shoot students and their parents as they picked them up from school on the “Discord” group messaging app while chatting with other National Guard members, according to ABC 6.

After the National Guard found out about his statements, members were told to shut down the chat. However, Develin and other National Guard members immediately created another chatroom on Telegram, according to prosecutors.

“I’m at a Jewish school and about to make it everyone’s problem,” Develin allegedly stated in a March 11 photo produced by police in court showing him brandishing a handgun.

In another post, the guard warned, “The playground is about to turn into a self-defense situation.” Then he said he wanted to “shoot parents coming to pick up their children.”

ABC 6 is also reporting that the former National Guardsman made similar comments concerning people of color, women, and police officers.

A mother of a National Guard member who died last fall discovered the chatroom and told Columbus Police about it. She was thanked for her actions by Joel Marcovitch, who is the president of the local JewishColumbus organization.

“Her actions actually helped us in what could have been a horrendous incident,” he remarked, according to the Daily Mail.

JewishColumbus issued a statement saying Develin’s posts were “an act of anti-Semitism” targeting the Jewish families he was supposed to protect.

“It was an attempt to silence our Jewish beliefs. For far too long Jews have been mentally and physically intimidated in spaces online, at schools, universities, and in our community. Virulent antisemitic rhetoric breeds extremism and has no place in our community,” the statement added.

“We are a proud and diverse Jewish community. 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,” it concluded.

In a statement issued by the school, officials said, “This threat was an act of antisemitism. It was a cowardly act of intimidation. It was an attempt to silence our Jewish beliefs.”

“For millennia, Jews have been threatened, intimidated, and persecuted,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement. “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.”

He has been fired by the school and has been suspended by the National Guard according to prosecutors.

Develin was enlisted in the Ohio National Guard in 2016 as an Air Defense Battle Management System Operator based in McConnelsville.

He was arrested on Wednesday and is being held on a $1 million bond at Franklin County Jail. Develin has a hearing scheduled for April 8. The incident is still under investigation according to police.


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