Grandson of Holocaust survivor who plotted massacre in NY synagogue released from jail

Matthew Mahrer, who is Jewish and the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, was released after his family posted a $150,000 bail, despite warnings that he is “dangerous.”

By World Israel News Staff

Two men accused of planning a shooting attack on a New York City synagogue were freed from jail last week, pending trial, the New York Post reported.

Officers from the New York Police Department took 21-year-old Christopher Brown, a resident of Long Island, and 22-year-old Matthew Mahrer, from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, into custody at Penn Station late Friday night, November 18, after investigators uncovered threats to Jewish houses of worship.

“This was not an idle threat,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference on Nov. 21, where he was joined by officials from the FBI, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other agencies involved in the arrests of Mahrer and Brown.

“This was a real threat,” he said.

A bag containing a Glock-style pistol with a large-capacity magazine and 17 bullets was seized from Mahrer’s apartment building, according to the complaint. Surveillance video from shortly before their arrests showed Brown and Mahrer walking into the building, with Mahrer carrying the bag, according to the criminal complaint.

Brown, who was charged with making a terrorist threat in addition to the weapons charges, told police that he runs a white supremacist Twitter group and Mahrer is one of his followers, according to the complaint.

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“I have Nazi paraphernalia at my house. I think it is really cool,” Brown told police, the complaint said.

Brown said he and Mahrer met at St. Patrick’s Cathedral before buying a gun because he “wanted to get the blessing,” according to the complaint.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Neil Ross, however, ruled Wednesday that Mahrer may walk free. His family posted a $150,000 bail last month — despite Assistant District Attorney Edward Burns’ warning of disturbing new facts about his plans that were reason enough to keep him behind bars, according to the Post.

Police said Mahrer “has a history of mental illness and has recently expressed interest in traveling to New York City to purchase a firearm. The subject should be considered armed and dangerous.”

“This could have been a Pittsburgh Tree of Life situation, this could have been a Buffalo Tops supermarket type of situation, and thankfully it was averted,” Community Security Initiative executive director Mitchell Silber told CBS News at the time.

“There are a lot of questions here,” defense attorney Brandon Freycint said of Mahrer, who has allegedly been diagnosed with autism, bipolar disorder, anxiety and ADHD, the Post reported.

“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.

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Prior to his arrest, the Post reported, Mahrer had been sending payments to an unnamed jailbird for the gun he and Brown were planning to use in the would-be attacks last month, the prosecutor said.

Following the verdict to set him free, Mahrer was seen casually puffing a vape pen and smirking as he strolled with his lawyer in Lower Manhattan, the Post reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.