Man arrested for threatening to kill Yonkers mayor and police at St. Patrick’s Day parade
YONKERS, N.Y. (PIX11) -- As the fun and excitement of St. Patrick's Day unfolded, police arrested a New York man for threatening to kill the mayor of Yonkers and police officers during the city's parade.
Officials claim the violent threats came from 32-year-old local Ridon Kola, a Yonkers resident.
Just six days before the Yonkers parade on Saturday, prosecutors said Kola posted a photo of himself on social media holding an axe and the caption, "Come on Judas. I am waiting for you."
Yonkers police arrested Kola on Friday, the day before the city's St. Patrick's Day parade. Authorities are calling Kola a religious extremist who sympathized with terrorists. Officials say he lives near the parade route in Yonkers.
Prosecutors said Kola also sent messages to the Instagram account of the Yonkers police department on March 9, reading, “First people to be crucified will be the Yonkers rats Vallahi. Allahu Ekberr.”
That last part is translated from Arabic as "By God. God is the greatest."
That post was followed up with another disturbing post, allegedly from Kola.
It read, “I will crucify Yonkers cops and their bosses all along McLean Avenue. It will be a horror scene..."
McLean Avenue is part of Yonkers' St. Patrick's Day parade route.
Kola was charged with making Threatening Interstate Communications. That carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Responding to the arrest, FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said, "As we allege, Kola, who has demonstrated support for radical Islamic extremism and terrorist attacks, made a series of threats to the lives of law enforcement and others, and now he will be forced to face the consequences of his actions."
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell thanked the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and others who stopped the threat.
“The NYPD remains steadfast in its commitment to fight against the grave threat of violence and hate in every form. This arrest reinforces our work to protect people and ensure consequences for those who are charged with threatening our way of life.”
Law enforcement said they confronted Kola in 2021 about him making threats online. At the time, Kola reportedly told investigators that he was not serious about the threats.
At the St. Patrick's Day parade and celebrations in Yonkers Saturday, many people PIX11 spoke to were surprised to hear that someone would make death threats against the mayor and police.
"That's one thing I can't take," local resident Shirley said. "There should be a lot of love in the world. Not hate."
Other paradegoers noticed the security and police that were stationed around the area.
"We saw multiple police officers running around, making sure everyone was safe," Jesse Giannone of Yonkers said. "We noticed the bomb squad with the attack dogs, just making sure everyone has a safe time. No one is scared."