FBI: ‘Las Vegas security guard planned anti-LGBT and anti-Semitic attacks’

Conor Climo planned an attack on a gay bar

The FBI have arrested a man in Las Vegas who they say was plotting attacks against the LGBT+ and Jewish communities.

Conor Climo, who officials say worked as a security guard, was arrested on August 8 by an FBI-led anti-terrorism task force.

Authorities said Climo, 23, plotted to bomb a synagogue or an LGBT+ bar.

A search of his house found hand-drawn schematics and parts of an explosive device, according to the criminal complaint, including flammable liquids, oxidising agents and circuit boards.

Officials also confiscated an AR-15 assault-style weapon and a bolt-action rifle.

Court documents say that in 2016, Climo made the news for patrolling his neighbourhood wearing body armour and carrying an assault rifle. Nevada has open-carry gun laws, which meant that as long as he stayed away from restricted zones like schools his actions were legal, police said at the time.

The criminal charge against Climo accuses him of possessing the parts of a bomb.

Nicholas Trutanich, the prosecutor, said in a statement, “Threats of violence motivated by hate and intended to intimidate or coerce our faith-based and LGBTQ communities have no place in this country.”

Court documents say Climo communicated with members of the neo-Nazi group the National Sociality Movement via encrypted online messages, and recently told an FBI informant that he was scouting out places to attack.

Trutanich said Climo was arrested following a probe that involved 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.”

Las Vegas security guard regularly used anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT slurs

“Climo would regularly use derogatory racial, anti-Semitic and homosexual slurs,” the US attorney’s office statement said.

“He discussed attacking a Las Vegas synagogue and making Molotov Cocktails and improvised explosive devices, and he also discussed conducting surveillance on a bar he believed catered to the LGBTQ community.”

JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a statement, “We are extremely alarmed to hear that Conor Climo, who was arrested last night in Las Vegas, was allegedly planning to attack a synagogue & LGBTQ bar.”

“While Climo’s actions are concerning, they are not in a vacuum. Dangerous and hateful rhetoric start at the top levels of government and heavily influence the rest of American society.

“Each and every day, the Trump-Pence administration has sought to dehumanise LGBTQ people, undermine our rights and treat us like second class citizens. The LGBTQ community is under attack, and the Trump-Pence administration is fuelling the flames.”

US magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe on August 9 ordered that Climo would remain in federal custody pending an August 23 court appearance on a federal firearms charge, according to NBC Los Angeles.