A 32-year-old man who authorities said supports radical Islamic extremism and seen in a social media post with an ax threatened to kill Yonkers police officers and the Mayor at the Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York, authorities said.
Ridon Kola was arrested Friday before an attack on the parade, happening Saturday, could be carried out, officials said.
“As alleged, Ridon Kola posted threats on social media against law enforcement, stating his support for ISIS and his intention to murder numerous police officers,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “Undeterred after questioning from law enforcement, Kola’s conduct escalated, as he continued to assure police his threats would be carried out. Threatening violence against police or to undermine public safety will not be tolerated.”
In a tweet, Mayor Mike Spano commended the authorities for thwarting the threat.
“Yonkers is proud to host one of New York’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parades, and threats like this will not intimidate us from celebrating the many contributions of our Irish American community,” he said.
Details about Kola were revealed in an unsealed complaint alleging he has engaged in escalating threats of violence, including a threat against the Yonkers Police Department and the Mayor at the Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The threats started appearing in messages to a Yonkers Police Department official social media account in November.
One read in Albanian: “I am going to slaughter you little girls.”
The following month, a message read: “Starting tomorrow I will start killing your officers just so u know who is doing it, Ridon Kola Albanian blood and I’m going to kill your fat rat mayor.”
Later, in an interview at his home, he admitted to detectives that he wrote the posts but said he would not harm the officers or the Mayor. Despite that, police warned officers to exercise caution in their encounters with the suspect, officials said.
Later, referring to the interview with detectives, he sent a direct message to the Yonkers Police Department’s social media account, saying:
“I’m looking for that officer that came to my house and threatened me and my family to kill us. I’m going to burn the world until I find him Vallahi [by God], no matter what happens to me there will never be peace in this country anymore!”
He allegedly expressed support for jihad, or war against non-Muslims, and proposed establishing a caliphate, or an Islamic state through violence and killing, court documents said.
In another post, Kola allegedly praised Sayfullo Saipov, recently convicted of terrorism and murder in connection with a truck attack in Manhattan that left eight people dead on Halloween 2017, court records show.
Kola escalated his threats, officials said.
“Now is personal America and the world!!!” and a threat to burn “cia fbi nsa police jud[g]es alive w their families too!” Kola’s social media account profile said on March 9, records show.
That day he allegedly sent two direct messages to the YPD social media account:
“First people to be crucified will be the Yonkers rats Vallahi. Allahu Ekberr”; and “I will crucify Yonkers cops and their bosses all along McLean ave.” referring to part of the route for the Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day Parade taking Saturday and near where authorities said he lives. “It will be a horror scene . . . Allahu Ekberr.”
In a post on Sunday to his social media feed, he had a photograph of himself holding an ax with a statement in Albanian, saying, “Come on Judas, I’m waiting for you.”
A criminal complaint filed in New York federal court charges Kola with making threatening interstate communications. The charge carries up to five years in prison.
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