LAS VEGAS — A man who worked as a security guard quoted Adolf Hitler in an online discussion about multiculturalism, sketched in a journal his vision of a shooting attack on a downtown LGBTQ bar and plotted to firebomb a Las Vegas synagogue, according to federal authorities.
Conor Climo, 23, of Las Vegas, was arrested Thursday by an FBI-led anti-terrorism task force, U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said in a statement.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe on Friday ordered Climo to remain in federal custody pending an Aug. 23 court appearance on a federal firearms charge. His court-appointed federal public defender didn’t immediately respond to messages.
Climo's arrest followed a weeklong string of mass shootings – with one specifically targeting Latinos – that claimed 31 lives in El Paso and Dayton.
Court documents say Climo communicated by encrypted internet chat with people identified as white supremacists, and told an FBI informant in recent weeks that he was scouting places to attack – including a bar in downtown Las Vegas.
“Threats of violence motivated by hate and intended to intimidate or coerce our faith-based and LGBTQ communities have no place in this country,” Trutanich said.
Documents point to a 2016 news report by KTNV-TV in Las Vegas about Climo patrolling his neighborhood wearing battle gear and carrying an assault rifle and survival knife. He shows and describes to a reporter the four, 30-bullet ammunition magazines he is carrying.
Neighbors expressed concern, but Climo was not arrested at that time. Las Vegas police Officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez noted Friday that Nevada is an open-carry weapon state and Climo broke no laws.
During their investigation, authorities discovered Climo used Quora – a website where users post questions and answer – and addressed this question: “What are the downsides of multiculturalism?”
"To quote a Nationalist,” Climo wrote, "'your most precious possession on this earth is your people!'"
The quote came from Adolf Hilter, the complaint said, and “is regularly used by extremist individuals and groups." Climo’s Quora profile picture is an AR-15-style rifle resembling the gun he toted in 2016 to patrol his neighborhood.
Climo was arrested Thursday after a probe involving at least one undercover online contact and an FBI confidential informant who reported that Climo “discussed, in detail, how to build a “self-contained Molotov” incendiary device.
Investigators serving a warrant at his home found hand-drawn schematics and component parts of a destructive device, according to the complaint, including flammable liquids, oxidizing agents and circuit boards.
In a journal, authorities found a sketch of “an attack of a Las Vegas bar that he viewed as catering to homosexuals.”
“Climo drew what he described as two infantry squads attacking the bar with firearms from the outside and one attacking it with firearms from the inside,” the complaint said. “Agents seized an AR-15 rifle and a bolt action rifle from Climo’s bedroom.”
The charge against Climo accuses him of possessing an unregistered firearm in the form of the component parts of a destructive device.
In May 2019, a confidential FBI informant connected with Climo on an encrypted online chat, according to the complaint. The informant said he was a “far-right ally” who learned Climo was a member of the white supremacist extremist group called Attomwaffen Division – or “AWD”.
From that point forward, authorities said, Climo kept regular contact with the informant. Climo’s profile picture on the encrypted chat, the complaint said, is a photo of a bolt-action rifle.
Climo regularly used derogatory racial, anti-Semitic and homosexual slurs, a U.S. attorney’s office statement said. He discussed attacking the synagogue, making improvised explosive devices and conducting surveillance on a bar he believed catered to the LGBTQ community.
“Sounds like you have some solid plans in place,” the informant wrote, according to the complaint. “Got any plans for a goodbye to Vegas?”
“Still thinking on that,” Climo responded.
Climo could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he is convicted.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: Vegas man accused of plotting to bomb synagogues, LGBTQ bar