FBI arrests Indiana man over threats to ‘kill every Jew’ — but didn’t tell Jewish community about him


((JEWISH REVIEW)) – The FBI arrested an Indiana man who promised to “kill every Jew” in Fort Wayne last year — and local Jewish leaders are questioning why they weren’t alerted to the threat sooner.

The suspect, 41-year-old Jeffrey Stevens, admitted in interviews that he had posted violent antisemitic threats directly to the website of the CIA, as well as in a Facebook direct message to the Fort Wayne Police Department, according to a newly released affidavit. 

Stevens also wrote to the CIA, “I am going to shoot every pro-Israel US government official in the head,” and boasted of having “strong Palestinian, Hezbollah, and Iranian contacts.” 

He is charged with communicating a threat in interstate commerce and faces a maximum of five years in prison.

The arrest on Tuesday came amid reports of rising antisemitism in the United States as the Israel-Hamas war extends into its fifth month. Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion of Israel, American Jews have been attacked on college campuses, in their homes and on the way to synagogue, and one Jewish man in Los Angeles died after an altercation at a street protest. In that time, the FBI has made other arrests in connection with antisemitism

Stevens told officials he had a “drinking problem,” according to the affidavit. He wrote the posts, including one reading “Death to the Zionist,” following Oct. 7, but also posted some Israel-related material from other social media accounts prior to the attacks.

As news of the arrest emerged, Jewish leaders wondered why they had not been warned of Stevens’ intentions, despite the fact that he sent his threats directly to law enforcement months ago. 

“We only found out about this two days ago and the whole incident occurred in November,” Jaki Schreier, executive director of the local Jewish federation, wrote to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an email. “We are NOT HAPPY to say the least.”

Fort Wayne, the second-largest city in Indiana, currently has around 450 Jewish families among its approximately 250,000 residents, according to the federation. Schreier said she would be meeting soon with the Secure Community Network, a nonprofit that coordinates security for American Jewish institutions, to discuss why the Jewish community was not told sooner of the threat. The SCN itself praised the arrest in a statement.

“The offender in this case made threats to the Jewish community of Fort Wayne as well as to the dedicated members of our law enforcement and intelligence communities,” Michael Masters, SCN’s national director and CEO, said in the statement. “This arrest highlights the potential spillover of international tensions into our own backyards and sends a clear message that our law enforcement partners continue to mitigate threats before they cause harm, especially amid rising Jew-hate.”

Also this week, the FBI reportedly found antisemitic material at the home of a woman who recently opened fire at a Houston megachurch, wounding one person before she was shot and killed by off-duty officers. Authorities found a painting with the message “Death to Jews” at the shooter’s home, her former mother-in-law, a self-professed Jewish Universalist rabbi, told the Forward. The shooter, who is thought to have been suffering from mental illness, brought her 7-year-old son with her to the church. He was shot in the head and critically injured.

Since Oct. 7, authorities have also arrested a Jewish man who threatened to kill Palestinians; and anti-Palestinian attackers have killed a 6-year-old boy in Illinois and shot and wounded college students in Vermont.