Pueblo man arrested in planned attack on Pueblo synagogue

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Richard Holzer - EL PASO COUNTY
  • El Paso County
  • Richard Holzer
Authorities arrested 27-year-old Richard Holzer on Nov. 1 after a sting operation in which Holzer took delivery of bogus explosives from an undercover FBI agent with the intent of bombing the Temple Emanuel in Pueblo, the government said Nov. 4.

At a news conference on Nov. 4, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Jason Dunn told reporters the FBI, Department of Justice and the Pueblo Police Department stopped "what we believe to be an imminent threat of domestic terrorism against a Colorado religious institution.”

“According to the complaint affidavit, Mr. Holzer self-identifies as a skinhead and a white supremacist," he said. "During the investigation, FBI agents became aware of racist, anti-Semitic and threatening statements made by Mr. Holzer on social media. Mr. Holzer repeatedly expressed his hatred of Jewish people and his support of a racial holy war.”

An FBI undercover agent made contact with Holzer on Facebook, after which Holzer sent her buttons with swastikas and told her he used to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan.



According to the affidavit, Holzer has used several Facebook accounts to promote white supremacy ideology and acts of violence in direct messages and group chats with like-minded people.

Examples:

• On Sept. 3, Holzer told a Facebook user, "I wish the Holocaust really did happen ... they need to die."

• On Aug. 27, he told a Facebook user, "I hate them with a passion. I told this nasty Jew to fuck off or I'll kill him."



• On July 11, he sent a Facebook message saying he was "getting ready to cap people." He included several pictures of him holding guns.

• On July 5, he told a Facebook user, "going to kill some spics ... there's too many here (as expected) lol."

Temple Emanuel serves a small congregation of Jewish families and was constructed in 1900. It's the second oldest synagogue in the state.

On Nov. 1, the agent provided Holzer with two fake pipe bombs and two bundles containing seven fake sticks of dynamite each. He then said they would carry out the attack at 2:30 or 3 a.m.

After his arrest, Holzer waived his right to remain silent and "admitted that he had been planning to blow up a Synagogue that night with the pipe bombs and dynamite in the motel room," the affidavit says. He called Jews and the synagogue "a cancer" to the community.

Read the affidavit here:
See related PDF FBIAffidavitHolzer.pdf
Pueblo Police Chief Troy Davenport also appeared at the news conference and expressed thanks to the federal agencies.

"Pueblo is a diverse community, characterized by inclusiveness," Davenport said. "Pueblo is a safer place today because of the diligent efforts of the Pueblo Police Department, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office."

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