Pittsburgh Police arrested Christian Williams, 31, in connection with threats made against the Jewish community on Sunday.
Williams allegedly screamed obscenities and made threatening comments to community members on Murray Avenue near Shaare Torah Congregation on April 17. Additionally, Williams reportedly harassed people near a church in Oakland, although the nature of the threats is not known.
Williams was arrested on Forward Avenue on April 19 after being spotted in Squirrel Hill by a community member who contacted Rick Franks, the security director for the Jewish Association on Aging, according to Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Community Security Director Shawn Brokos. Franks notified Brokos, who contacted Pittsburgh Police. Officers arrested Williams after observing him acting erratically.
Williams is in the Allegheny County Jail waiting to appear at a preliminary hearing. Brokos said she hopes he will be detained for a mental health evaluation.
Brokos credits both the victims who reported the incidents and provided an accurate description of the suspect promptly, as well as vigilant community members who identified Williams based on the description.
“I think it was definitely an excellent community effort, “Brokos said. “That includes the police, as well.”
Brokos said Federation and the Pittsburgh Police are still seeking information about a separate incident that occurred on April 15. Anyone who had an antisemitic flyer in a Ziplock bag filled with rice thrown onto their property should call 911 and report the incident to Brokos, she said. She can be reached at email@example.com. PJC