A New York man who expressed support online for the Islamic State is charged with plotting to kill police officers and threatening to kill a mayor on the street where the local St. Patrick’s Day parade was slated to be held, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Ridon Kola, 32, was arrested and charged with making threatening interstate communications, the Justice Department 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. Undeterred after questioning from law enforcement, Kola’s conduct escalated, as he continued to assure police his threats would be carried out,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
Kola was arrested on Friday, after announcing his support for ISIS and posting vile threats on social media for months, claiming he would kill Yonkers police officers and the Yonkers mayor, and indicating his slaughter would happened on Saturday during the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
On March 12, he posted a photo of himself holding an axe.
U.S. Attorney announces arrest of Yonkers man for threatening to kill Yonkers police officershttps://t.co/Bb6l7ngPfF pic.twitter.com/ANeuFT1vLA
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) March 17, 2023
The Justice Department shared additional shocking details in a press release on Friday, as follows: [emphasis added]
As alleged in the Complaint unsealed today:
KOLA has engaged in escalating threats of violence against, among others, law enforcement, culminating in recent online threats against the YPD in connection with the Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day parade scheduled for Saturday, March 18. KOLA’s posts demonstrate support for radical Islamic extremism and terrorist attacks. In a recent threatening post, KOLA displayed himself with an axe.
On November 19, 2021, KOLA posted to a YPD official social media account a message in Albanian that translated to the following: “I am going to slaughter you little girls.”
On December 5, 2021, KOLA posted to the same YPD social media account a message stating that: “Starting tomorrow I will start killing your officers just so u know who is doing it, Ridon Kola Albanian blood,” and that he would also kill the Mayor of Yonkers.
Following those threats, in December 2021, YPD detectives interviewed KOLA at his residence. KOLA admitted to making the threatening posts but claimed he had no plans to harm YPD officers or the Mayor. Based on his demeanor, YPD subsequently issued a warning to officers to exercise diligence and caution in any encounters with KOLA. Beginning in early 2023, and continuing in the days leading up to the planned St. Patrick’s Day parade, KOLA has escalated his threats against the YPD and other government officials and has expressed his support for violent Islamic extremism and terrorist attacks.
In January 2023, KOLA posted multiple statements expressing support for “jihad,” or “to war against non-Muslims,” and the establishment of a “caliphate,” and depicting the raised index finger gesture used by jihadist groups, including the terrorist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS”).
On March 6, 2023, appearing to reference YPD’s prior interview of KOLA, KOLA sent a direct message to the YPD social media account stating: “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! Allahu Ekberr.” The phrase “Allahu Ekberr” is one form of an Arabic phrase meaning “God is great,” which radical Islamic extremists have proclaimed in connection with the commission of terrorist attacks.
The next day, March 7, 2023, KOLA posted a statement praising Sayfullo Saipov, the recently convicted perpetrator of a terrorist attack for ISIS in which Saipov used a truck on Halloween in 2017 to murder eight victims and injure many more on a bike bath in lower Manhattan. KOLA referred to Saipov as “my BROTHER.”
As of March 9, 2023, KOLA’s social media account profile included the statement, “Now is personal America and the world!!!” and a threat to burn “cia fbi nsa police jud[g]es alive w their families too!”
Also on March 9, KOLA sent two direct messages to the YPD social media account stating: “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. It will be a horror scene . . . Allahu Ekberr.” McLean Avenue in Yonkers is part of the route for the Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day Parade taking place on March 18, and numerous YPD officers will be posted to the parade route along that street. KOLA’s residence is in the area of the parade route.
Three days later, on March 12, 2023, KOLA posted to his social media feed a photograph of himself holding an axe with a statement in Albanian, translated to the following: “Come on Judas, I’m waiting for you.”
* * *
KOLA, 32, of Yonkers, New York, is charged with making threatening interstate communications, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
YPD Commissioner Christopher Sapienza said: “The safety of our residents, our community, and the members of our Police Department is paramount; every threat is investigated to the fullest extent possible. Thankfully, due to the outstanding collaborative efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force and our Yonkers Police Intelligence Division, our City will enjoy a safe Saint Patrick’s Day parade tomorrow free from intimidation by bad actors.”
Great job #YonkersPD and @FBI JTTF in intercepting threat actors and keeping our communities safe!https://t.co/deoP8x2Wio
— Yonkers Police HQ (@YonkersPD) March 17, 2023
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