Man Allegedly Threatens to Shoot People at Jewish Children's Camp for Not Wearing Masks

A New York man was arrested after police said he threatened to shoot people at a nearby Jewish children's camp for not wearing masks or social distancing, according to authorities.

The man, who was identified as 58-year-old Nicola Pelle of Inwood, New York, was arrested on Monday by the Nassau County Police Department.

Authorities responded to a call from Pelle "for a complaint regarding a violation of social distancing at Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island children's camp," according to a Nassau County Police Department press release.

"While police were en route the defendant, Nicola Pelle, called again and threatened to get a gun and shoot the individuals at the location if the police didn't get there," the department's release said.

News station NBC 4 in New York City reported that while on the phone with police, Pelle said, "If I gotta go out there with a freaking machine gun and shoot all these people, I will," according to Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

Shortly after police arrived at the scene, Pelle identified himself as the caller and was placed under arrest without incident, the press release said.

Following the arrest, authorities seized 14 weapons from Pelle's home, including five handguns, rifles and shotguns. The press release said Pelle possessed a valid Nassau County pistol permit, but according to NBC 4, one of the guns found was a Bushmaster rifle, which is illegal to own in New York state.

Pelle was charged with making a terroristic threat, four counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and two counts of criminal possession of a firearm. According to NBC 4, Pelle was arraigned in a Mineola court on Tuesday and was released on bond.

Nassau County Police Department
A police medic disinfects an ambulance at the Nassau County Police Department in Mineola, New York, on May 15. Angela Weiss/Getty

While speaking to NBC 4, Rabbi Ari Ginian, who runs the children's camp, said that Pelle has lived next door for years and that the alleged incident was "very uncharacteristic."

"He may have been frustrated by some of the situation we are under. There is duress right now on everyone's part. We feel for him that he brought himself to that point, and we hope that he takes back what he said," Ginian told NBC 4.

Anthony Rivelli, a fellow neighbor, also spoke to NBC 4 and suggested that Pelle "definitely wasn't himself."

"He was groveling when he was talking to me, he just wasn't making sense. I knew something was wrong, so I think we got a little overreaction here," Rivelli added.

Newsweek reached out to the Nassau County Police Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.