A 23-year-old Las Vegas man who allegedly wanted to attack Jews and patrons of an LGBTQ bar was arrested on suspicion of possessing parts to make a bomb, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada said Friday.
Conor Climo, who was arrested Thursday, was connected to white supremacists though encrypted online conversations, federal prosecutors said.
"Threats of violence motivated by hate and intended to intimidate or coerce our faith-based and LGBTQ communities have no place in this country," Nicholas A. Trutanich, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada, said in a statement.
After Climo's arrest, FBI agents said he told them he had acquired electronic components to build a bomb and that he wanted to mobilize an eight-man sniper platoon to shoot Jewish people either at a Las Vegas synagogue or some other location.
According to charging documents, an FBI bomb technician found bomb-making components and chemical compounds in Climo's bedroom. Federal agents said they also seized an AR-15 style rifle and a bolt-action rifle from the room.
Climo tried to recruit a homeless person to engage in "pre-attack surveillance" on a house of worship and wanted to target patrons of an LGBTQ bar on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, federal prosecutors said in a statement.
Agents say Climo sketched images of such an attack in drawings that included two infantry squads attacking the bar with guns from the outside and one attacking it from the inside.
He allegedly told agents, according to FBI officials, that over the past two years he thought of several ideas to carry out an attack on Jews.
FBI officials said they received information that Climo was communicating with individuals who identified with the white supremacist extremist group Atomwaffen Division. Prosecutors said in their statement that he also communicated with people who "identified with" the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group.
Climo could face up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted, prosecutors said. His next court date is scheduled for Aug. 23.
Climo was featured on a local TV report in 2016 that described him as a "local citizen on patrol" who openly carried an assault-style weapon and a large knife.
Authorities said Climo was a security guard.
Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, expressed his thanks to the U.S. attorney’s office as well as the FBI.
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada, tweeted after the arrest was announced that “I’m grateful that our law enforcement was able to act quickly and prevent this from becoming a tragedy.”
"Hate and bigotry have no place in our communities," she said.
The arrest comes less than a week after a gunman who allegedly confessed to police that he was targeting people of Mexican descent opened fire at an El Paso Walmart, killing 22 people.
The mass shooting has led to renewed focus on the issue of domestic terrorism and white supremacist violence.
In October 2018 America's Jewish community was left reeling after eleven people were killed when a gunman opened fire during Sabbath services at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
In April a 19-year-old man opened fire at a synagogue in Poway, near San Diego, killing one person and injuring others.