The suspect had a history of hate on social media:
Richard Holzer, 27, allegedly used several Facebook accounts to promote white supremacy and chat with other white nationalists. Over the last few months, Holzer allegedly wrote of Jews, “they need to die” and “I hate them with a passion.”
“I wish the Holocaust really did happen,” he wrote on September 3.
Holzer also allegedly posted pictures of himself holding firearms while wearing clothes with white supremacist symbols, alongside the caption “getting ready to cap people.”
The FBI first made contact by having an agent pose as a white supremacist woman.
According to the affidavit, Holzer was contacted on September 28 by an FBI employee posing as a white supremacist woman (the affidavit itself didn’t disclose the gender of the person behind the online persona). Perhaps trying to impress her, Holzer sent her a series of pictures of himself with white supremacist images and holding weapons, as well as a video that appeared to show him urinating on a Jewish building.
He grew more obsessed with hurting Jews, including poisoning them.
On September 28, Holzer claimed to the woman that he had paid a man he called “Mexican Hitler” $70 to “hex and poison a local synagogue,” which he later claimed was done by putting arsenic in the water supply. On October 4, after sending her video of the synagogue, he told her that he would try to poison the synagogue with arsenic on Halloween, and invited her friends to join in. The woman connected Holzer with her friends - who were actually undercover FBI agents.
Holzer told the undercover agents that he had lots of ideas besides poison, including welding the doors shut and exploding the building with Molotov cocktails.
The FBI gave him fake explosives.
After more planning and coordination with the undercover agents, Holzer met with them at a hotel, where they showed him pipe bombs and sticks of dynamite they had brought for the attack. Holzer called them “absolutely gorgeous.” In fact, they had been manufactured in the FBI’s office in Quantico, Virginia and were inert. Holzer, for his part, brought along a knife, a mask and a copy of “Mein Kampf.”
He admitted that he wanted to hurt Jews.
Although Holzer wanted to blow up the synagogue at 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. in order to avoid police presence - which would also avoid human casualties - he told the FBI after his arrest that he would have gone through with the attack had he known people were inside the building at the time because those people would likely be Jewish.