US/World News

Florida man jailed after threatening synagogue

(JTA) – A Florida man threatened to shoot up a local synagogue and in text messages said he hates Jews. Hanson Larkin, 25, of DeLand, was arrested Sept. 6 by the FBI and appeared later that day in Orlando federal court. He was charged with making threats using interstate communication. He appeared in court again on Sept. 10 and was denied bail. Larkin made the violent threats in text messages to the cellphone of an individual identified in some reports as a friend.

Police described the victim as a Jewish man who rejected romantic advances from Larkin. Among the messages cited in the complaint: “I bought a gun with my first paycheck If I don’t meet you I will be forced to use it,” and “If meeting me for five seconds is not worth the lives of multiple Jews then I have no other option.” “There’s a Chabad near me. And Amtrak has no security for weapons. Don’t make me make a choice they’ll regret,” he also texted, referring to the shooting attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California. Larkin also suggested a possible target of a “Jewish house of worship located approximately 2.5 miles from Larkin’s residence in DeLand, Florida.” The victim, who said he has had communication with Larkin for two years, said Larkin has expressed hatred for Jews and suicidal thoughts. Larkin could face five years in jail if convicted on federal charges.

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