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FBI arrests Colorado man in synagogue bomb plot

FBI agents. (Melanie Rodgers Cox/US Air Force)
November 04, 2019

The FBI announced Monday the arrest of a Pueblo, Colorado man who planned to bomb a historical Colorado synagogue.

Richard Holzer, 27, was arrested on Friday after he accepted two pipe bombs and dynamite from undercover federal agents pretending to be his co-conspirators, according to the Associated Press. Holzer had allegedly planned to bomb the Temple Emanuel synagogue — Colorado’s second oldest synagogue.

Upon receiving the explosive devices, Holzer reportedly described the bomb as “absolutely gorgeous” and discussed carrying out the attack overnight so as to avoid police.

Holzer, is set to make his first court appearance on Monday.

A copy of the federal complaint detailed a series of Facebook posts by Holzer dating back to July, in which the man made various comments the FBI associated with White Supremacist ideology, including comments in support of racially motivated violence and discussed dying in a shootout with police on at least two separate occasions, as far back as May 12.

The FBI ultimately initiated contact Holzer on Sept. 28, through an Online Covert Employee (OCE) portraying themselves as a female white supremacist sympathizer. At various points, Holzer claimed to have killed pedophiles and later that he had paid a Mexican cook to “hex and poison a local synagogue,” with arsenic.

Holzer allegedly debated the use of molotov cocktails to attack the synagogue but expressed concern that such a fire-bombing method would not be effective. He and the undercover agents then allegedly began to formulate plan of attack using pipe bombs.

The undercover agents provided Holzer an inert explosive device on the night of his arrest.

Holzer was reportedly taken into police custody where the FBI says he waived his rights to an attorney and agreed to speak with FBI agents present.

According to the FBI, Holzer admitted that he planned to blow up the synagogue. When asked if he planned to hurt anyone, he reportedly said he did not, but later concluded that if he had found someone inside the synagogue at the time of the attack he would have proceeded because anyone inside would be Jewish.

Holzer allegedly described the bomb plot as “my mountain” and compared the Jewish congregants and the Synagogue as a “cancer” on the community.

Temple Emanuel synagogue was built in 1900 and serves a congregation of about 30 families. A rabbi reportedly travels nearly two hours from Denver every other week to hold services with the congregation.