(JTA) — A man who plotted to blow up a synagogue in Colorado has pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes and explosives charges.
Richard Holzer, a self-described “skinhead” and former Ku Klux Klan member who used Facebook to promote white supremacy, was arrested last November for plotting to blow up a 100-year-old synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado. The synagogue, Temple Emanuel, has 35 member families.
Holzer was arrested after plotting with a man he thought was a co-conspirator but who was actually an FBI agent. Holzer had previously attempted to poison the synagogue’s water supply with arsenic.
“This is the most important work that we can do – protecting our communities by stopping an attack before it occurred,” said Colorado US Attorney Jason Dunn in a statement.
A Department of Homeland Security report released this month concluded that white supremacists pose the biggest domestic terror threat in the United States.
The bombing plot profoundly affected the community, which typically meets twice a month. The synagogue’s rabbi has since voiced his support for congregants carrying guns into the sanctuary,
“We’re going to be here. We’ve been here for 119 years,” the rabbi said. “But we’re going to do what we need to do to protect ourselves.”