Two men arrested, charged for planned attacks on New York City synagogues
New details surrounding the arrest of the two men who planned to carry out attacks on New York City synagogues have emerged.
Christopher Brown, 21, was recently arrested alongside alleged co-conspirator Matthew Mahrer, 22, for their plans to attack members of New York’s Jewish community.
The pair were in possession of a gun, a ‘high-capacity’ magazine, ammunition, a ‘military style’ knife, and Nazi memorabilia at the time of their arrest, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Court documents revealed that Brown allegedly told investigators he runs an online white supremacist group and owns Nazi paraphernalia because he thinks “it is really cool.”
Christopher Brown, 21, was in court Sunday after being arrested for planning attacks on NYC synagogues.
Investigators said that Brown and co-conspirator Matthew Mahrer had purchased a 9mm Glock in Pennsylvania for $650.
Brown allegedly told investigators that he is ‘sick’ and runs a white supremacist group on Twitter
The pair had met outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral Friday before they were ultimately stopped with the gun, a 9mm Glock, which they had allegedly purchased for $650 in Pennsylvania.
Assistant District Attorney Emilio Hernandez said Mahrer and Brown had even traveled to Pennsylvania together for the sale and had “intent to use it in an attack on a synagogue.”
The FBI/NYPD task force first became aware of threats to the Jewish community on Friday night and ‘moved swiftly to gather information, identify those behind it and operationally neutralize their ability to do harm,’ NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement.
In a criminal complaint obtained by the New York Post, Brown allegedly told police that he had “a sick personality” when pressed about the attacks and the gun.
‘I was going to be a coward and blow my brains out with it,’ Brown allegedly told police after his arrest.
Brown had previously posted a message to his social media page on Thursday, allegedly saying: ‘Gonna ask a priest if I should become a husband or shoot up a synagogue and die.’
The 21-year-old also told police that Mahrer was ‘a follower’ of his.
This is the poster the FBI released of Brown, asking the public for help finding the man who has a ‘history of mental illness’
‘It took me three years to finally buy the gun. Matt is one of my followers. I have Nazi paraphernalia in my house. I think it’s really cool,’ Brown allegedly told police, according to the complaint.
‘I also operate a white supremacist Twitter group,’ Brown said.
The man had appeared on the police’s radar after sending out threatening and alarming tweets, including one alleged post where he said he was making “big moves on Friday.”
Police say he later posted to his social media account: ‘This time I’m really gonna do it.’
Brown has been arraigned on charges related to making a terroristic threat and weapons possession.
The accused also reportedly posted a video of himself saying that he was going to ‘brutally murder people with hatchets and whatnot.’
Inside the apartment of Mahrer’s parents, whom he lived with, police found a gun and bulletproof vest after their arrests.
‘Hateful anti-Semitic targeting of synagogues is deplorable,’ Bragg said. ‘The Manhattan DA’s office will now pursue accountability and justice in this case with the full resources of our counter-terrorism problem and recently enhanced and expanded hate crimes unit.’
In addition to charges relating to making a terroristic threat, Brown has been charged with six charges of weapons possession. He is being held without bail.
Matthew Mahrer, 22, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and is being held on $150,000 bond.
Mahrer has been ordered to be held on $150,000 bail.
During his Saturday arraignment, his attorney Brandon Freycint said that the 22-year-old has autism, bipolar disorder, anxiety and ADHD, according to one outlet.
Mahrer’s lawyer also said that the man is “of Jewish heritage” and that his own grandfather is a Holocaust survivor.
‘My client is of Jewish heritage. He resides with his parents and his grandfather is actually a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor — and my client is his part-time caretaker,’ Freycinet said in court.
The lawyer alleged that based on his heritage, Mahrer should not face potential charges related to a hate crime.
Mahrer’s lawyer claims he has autism, bipolar disorder, anxiety and ADHD.
Freycinet said that Mahrer had spent time in homeless shelters before moving back into his parents’ Upper West Side home a year ago and that he had no criminal history.
Mahrer’s parents were present Saturday at his arraignment and claimed that this is not who they knew their son to be.
‘He’s not what they’re saying he is,’ Mahrer’s mom told The Post outside the Manhattan courtroom Saturday.
He is expected back in court Wednesday for his next hearing.
Police were seen stationed outside a synagogue in 2021 amid a rise in antisemitic attacks
In 2021, the Anti-Defamation League found more than 2,700 incidents of antisemitic behavior nationwide.
That number marked a staggering 34 percent jump from the one from 2020.
In an interview with PBS earlier this year, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said that it’s a troubling statistic.
‘This is the highest total we have ever tracked in more than 40 years of doing this work. And we should keep in mind that antisemitic acts were going down in the United States for almost 15 years, and then, in 2016, they started to move up.
‘And we’re now at the point where we have nearly triple the number of incidents today that we did in 2015.’