A Las Vegas security guard is facing a federal weapons charge after authorities say he discussed making explosives and was planning attacks on a local synagogue and a bar that catered to the LGBTQ community.
According to the Justice Department, 23-year-old Conor Climo promoted white supremacy and communicated with people who identified with a white supremacist extremist organization.
Acting on a search warrant, law enforcement discovered bomb-making materials, which prosecutors described as “the component parts of a destructive device,” at Climo’s home.
Climo was arrested Thursday morning and later charged with one count of possession of an unregistered firearm. He appeared in court Friday.
A criminal complaint says that Climo discussed making Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices as well as his plans to attack a synagogue in Las Vegas during online encrypted conversations this year.
Climo also talked about conducting surveillance on a bar in downtown Las Vegas that he believed catered to the LGBTQ community and tried to recruit a homeless person to conduct “pre-attack surveillance” at a synagogue and other targets, according to the complaint.
While carrying out the search warrant, investigators found a notebook that contained hand-drawn diagrams of a potential attack in Las Vegas and drawings of “timed explosive devices,” the complaint said.
In 2016, Climo made local news headlines after he began patrolling his neighborhood with a semi-automatic rifle in an effort to start an armed neighborhood watch program in the Centennial Hills area of Las Vegas.
“If there is possibly a very determined enemy, we at least have the means to deal with it,” Climo told KTNV at the time.
Climo later agreed to leave his weapons at home after residents expressed their concern.
Climo’s arrest comes four days after federal prosecutors deemed last weekend’s deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, a case of domestic terrorism.
The suspect in that attack, which left 22 people dead, confessed to officers that he was specifically targeting Mexican people, police said.
While that massacre was labeled an act of “domestic terrorism,” another deadly mass shooting that occurred less than 24 hours later in Dayton, Ohio, was not.
There is currently no federal law that specifically criminalizes “domestic terrorism,” which can make federal officials hesitant to use the label, according to HuffPost’s senior justice reporter, Ryan J. Reilly.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau takes domestic terrorism “extremely seriously.”
Wray told the Senate committee that a “majority” of those types of cases investigated by the FBI are motivated by a form of “what you might call white supremacist violence.”
If convicted on the criminal weapons charge, Climo could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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