FBI: Colorado Synagogue Attack Thwarted

November 4, 2019 Federal authorities arrested a man on Friday for plotting an attack on a synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado.

Richard Holzer, 27, of Pueblo was arrested on Friday and held in a Colorado Springs jail on conspiracy charges for plotting to  blow up the historic Temple Emanuel synagogue with dynamite and pipe bombs.

Holzer, a self-identified skinhead and former member of the Ku Klux Klan thought he was discussing his plans to bomb the synagogue with fellow white supremacists, who turned out to be FBI agents.


Facebook posts by Holzer promoting racially motivated acts of violence in September   caught the eye of  federal authorities.

Holzer appeared in a federal court outside of Denver on Monday. He is charged with the attempted use of explosives and trying to obstruct the free exercise of religious beliefs. His next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

According to court records,
Holzer described what he thought were real explosives to undercover agents as “absolutely gorgeous” and suggested carrying out the attack overnight to avoid police. Holzer told one agent he was preparing for a “RAHOWA,” or racial holy war.

FBI agents said Holzer made earlier  comments about Pueblo’s Jewish community referring to the synagogue and Jews as a “cancer” to the community and said he wanted to plot “something that tells them they are not welcome in this town.”

White Supremacist-Linked Threats

In 2017, a joint FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin stated that since 9/11, more attacks had been carried about by white supremacist groups than any other domestic extremist group. The intelligence bulletin warned that more attacks were likely in the next year.

Despite several recent report findings that white supremacist groups are the biggest threat to the homeland, the Trump administration has continued to focus on foreign terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists.

Attacks on Religious Institutions

Terrorist attacks on religious institutions have religious leaders across faiths scrambling to protect houses of worship. Recent attacks on Christian churches in Sri Lanka, mosque attacks in New Zealand and shootings at U.S. synagogues have demonstrated that all faiths are targets.