Federal authorities arrested Ridon Kola, a resident of Yonkers, for allegedly threatening to kill police officers during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Kola could face up to five years in federal prison if he is found guilty of making interstate threats. According to reports, Kola sent a number of threatening social media messages to the Yonkers police, including one in which he threatened to “crucify” the officers.
Yonkers Resident Arrested Before St. Patrick’s Day Parade for Social Media Threats
On March 9, Kola sent a message to the Yonkers Police Department that included threats and the claim that the street where the event would take place would be a horrifying scene.
The same day, Kola sent another message in which he threatened to “crucify” Yonkers residents he called “rats.” Although there was no direct mention of the parade, the message did make an indirect reference to McLean Avenue, where the event was scheduled to take place.
Kola was arrested after the US Attorney’s Office released a statement detailing the suspect’s affiliation with a terrorist group and his deleted social media posts expressing support for the group and a “war against non-Muslims.”
In addition, federal authorities revealed that Kola supported Sayfullo Saipov, a fellow ISIS supporter who was recently sentenced to life in prison for hitting eight people with a rented U-Haul truck on a New York City bike path in 2017.
No death penalty for NYC terrorist Sayfullo Saipov in West Side Highway attack https://t.co/kUrKAtHIS7 pic.twitter.com/fkVnZMJktt
— New York Post (@nypost) March 13, 2023
After Threatener Arrest, Yonkers Parade Continues with Increased Security
The day following Kola’s arrest, the mayor of Yonkers, Mike Spano, confirmed the St. Patrick’s Day celebration would proceed as planned, albeit with increased security.
The mayor’s response to Kola’s threats was as follows: “The message is unambiguous. This is no joke. He will be punished to the fullest extent possible. This is what we do.”
That was followed by, “This person will not attend the parade. It’s safe to assert. Here will be the remainder of the parade spectators.”
Kola had threatened the Yonkers police via social media as early as 2021, with one particularly disturbing message in Albanian stating, “I will slaughter your little girls.”
ISIS supporter arrested for threats to kill police and city's mayor during St Patty's Day parade https://t.co/Ohju4HEm1E
— Raw Story (@RawStory) March 17, 2023
The criminal complaint against Kola also revealed his since-deleted social media posts contained Islamic artwork and imagery similar to that used by jihadist groups to express their desire for an all-Islamic world.
On the day of Kola’s arrest, federal agents raided his residence. The arrest of Kola sends a clear message to anyone who poses a threat to public safety that they will be taken seriously and punished accordingly.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade proceeded as planned, with the safety of participants and spectators guaranteed.
Kola was apprehended as similar parades, including those in New York and Georgia, were taking place at the same time. Others observed the occasion with large-scale, alcohol-fueled parties on the beach in Fort Lauderdale.This article appeared in TheDailyBeat and has been published here with permission.