MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) — Two men arrested on Saturday have been charged in what authorities described as a “developing threat to the Jewish community.”
Christopher Brown was taken into custody from Penn Station. “This particular individual was very distinctive looking and that’s what helped – great eyeball by the MTA police,” said Robert Boyce.
Now police say that Brown and his friend, Matthew Mahrer, brought weapons and antisemitic paraphernalia to the city. They also brought a ski mask and bullet proof vest.
“A potential tragedy was averted when they were intercepted by police officers at Penn Station, given that online postings indicated an intent to use these weapons at a Manhattan synagogue,” stated Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Brown had already been on law enforcement’s radar for spewing antisemitic hate on social media, including his tweet last week where he wrote, ‘going to ask a priest if I should become a husband or shoot up a synagogue’.
One of his latest messages indicated ‘big moves on Friday’.
MTA PD Chief John Mueller released a statement Saturday saying in part,
“The tremendous police work here reflects the MTA PD’s core purpose – protecting millions of daily commuters, in collaboration with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners.”
Brown is from Aquebogue in Suffolk County and his family told police that he was allegedly on his way to the city to buy a gun.
Mahrer faced one charge of possessing a weapon. Police say he was accompanying Brown on Saturday and that they did find a ghost gun in his apartment.
He went before a judge on Saturday night and is currently being held on a cash bail.
Many in the Jewish community are already on edge after a disturbing threat was made online two weeks ago by a New Jersey teen.
Federal prosecutors are deciding whether more charges will be added to Brown’s case. Both Brown and Mahrer are scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 23.
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.