Security guard charged with threatening Columbus Torah Academy

·2 min read
Thomas Develin is charged with making the threats towards the Columbus Torah Academy, a private school based in the Jewish faith located at 181 Noe Bixby Road.
Thomas Develin is charged with making the threats towards the Columbus Torah Academy, a private school based in the Jewish faith located at 181 Noe Bixby Road.

A private security guard for a Jewish school has been charged with making terroristic threats after posting on social media about shooting people at the school.

Thomas Develin, 24, of the Northwest Side, was arrested Wednesday.

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Develin is charged with making the threats towards the Columbus Torah Academy, a private school based in the Jewish faith located at 181 Noe Bixby Road. According to court records, Develin worked as a security guard at the East Side school.

On March 11, Develin posted two photographs on the social media and messaging app Discord, according to court records. One of the photos showed Develin holding a handgun with the caption: "I'm at a Jewish school and about to make it everyone's problem."

The second photo was captioned: "The playground is about to turn into a self defense (sic) situation."

Court records also said Develin had made a comment about wanting to "shoot parents coming to pick up their children."

A person who saw the posts contacted law enforcement about them, and they were linked to Develin, according to court records.

Develin is being held in the Franklin County jail.

In a statement, the nonprofit JewishColumbus said it was informed on Tuesday about the "credible antisemitic threat."

"Securing our community is the top priority at JewishColumbus and we remain in close contact with our law enforcement partners as the investigation continues," the statement said. "We want to express our gratitude to the quick-thinking law enforcement officials at the local, state and national agencies. Their training, planning and professionalism stopped the threat. We believe strongly that those implicated in this threat will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

The statement went on to say that Develin's comments were "a cowardly act of intimidation" and "an attempt to silence" the 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," the statement said.

The Jewish community has been targeted historically and in recent months across the country.

In January, a man held four people hostage in a Texas synagogue for several hours before the hostages escaped and the gunman died. The Tree of Life Synagogue near Pittsburgh was targeted in 2018 in a mass shooting that left 11 dead and seven injured.

In 2020, the Anti-Defamation League reported more than 2,000 incidents of antisemitism across the country, including harassment, threats and violence.

bbruner@dispatch.com

@bethany_bruner

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Security guard charged with threatening Columbus Torah Academy