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The FBI has arrested a 27-year old white supremacist who planned to bomb a synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado.
The suspect was identified as Richard Holzer. The FBI said that he was allegedly planning to target Temple Emanuel in Pueblo, which is the state’s second-oldest synagogue. Holzer was charged with attempting to obstruct religious exercise by force using explosives and fire, according to ABC News.
Holzer was arrested after he told an undercover FBI agent about his plans. The agent, posing as a white supremacist, found him on Facebook. Holzer told her about him being a skinhead and a former member of the KKK.
FBI said he used multiple accounts to propagate his views. At one point, the suspect posted in a group chat: “I wish the holocaust really did happen … they need to die.”
He wanted to poison the attendees with arsenic and attack the place with Molotov cocktails but later decided he needed something more “explosive.” He eventually chose dynamite.
On November 1, Holzer met three undercover FBI agents at a hotel. They showed him pipe bombs and dynamite and subsequently arrested him. Holzer confessed.
Michael Atlas-Acuna, the president of Temple Emanuel, said he learnt about this when news agencies started calling him for comments. He said the synagogue already has plans for dealing with these situations.
“We take our security very seriously here. We have been since what happened in Pittsburgh … we’re not going to be victimized and we’re going to defend ourselves,” Atlas-Acuna said. “I’ve never been naive to think that it couldn’t happen to us because there’s been other things that have happened in small communities like shooting churches, so I’ve never been that naive.”
“I think that all Jewish communities have to continue to protect themselves. Make sure they have armed guards, make sure they have security. We don’t like the idea that America that we have to deal with this, but again, it’s just a reality of where we live right now,” he added.