(Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)
OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 11:54 AM – Saturday, March 18, 2023
A New York man who has previously expressed support for the Islamic State has been charged with plotting to kill police officers, and threats to kill the mayor at a local St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The Justice Department said that Ridon Kola of Yonkers, New York, has been arrested and is now facing federal charges.
“That’s usually what terrorists want to do,” Mayor Mike Spano said. “They want to terrorize your mind, terrorize your thoughts and make you afraid.”
A multi-agency investigation, which involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New York Police Department (NYPD), uncovered threats made by Kola over social media.
“I will crucify Yonkers cops and their bosses all along McLean ave,” the 32-year-old said in a direct message to Yonkers Police. “It will be a horror scene. Allahu Ekberr.”
Kola, who lives near the parade route, had been previously questioned by law enforcement. However, after his recent threats, members of the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Kola.
Local residents expressed their relief that he has been stopped.
“It is scary, but it’s good to know that they’ve been caught,” Yonkers resident Maria Oriol said. “There’s always someone out there trying to do something.”
Kola had also previously praised Sayfullo Saipov calling him his brother. Saipov had used a truck to run over and kill eight people and injuring others in a terror attack on Manhattan’s West Side in 2017, and is now serving a life sentence in prison.
“Most of the time, these things are unfounded,” the mayor said. “Most of the time, these things don’t pan out, but we have to be vigilant and we have to be 100 percent.”
The Yonkers mayor went to assure the local community that there will be sufficient law enforcement during the parade on Saturday and all along the route. Officers will be in uniform and plain clothes to ensure the safety of all attendees.