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Religious Tolerance logo



An alleged plan to
bomb a synagogue in Pueblo, CO.
Teen girl suspected of planning a
church attack in Gainesville, GA.

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Planned bombing at synagogue in Pueblo:

FBI agents arrested Richard Holzer, 27, in a motel room on Friday, 2019-NOV-01. They had apparently been following him for some time, because they had supplied him with dummy pipe bombs and imitation dynamite which he was examining when he was arrested. He was described as a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, and a domestic terrorist who allegedly promoted anti-semitism and was hoping to contribute to a religious holy war. He had allegedly discussed on an Internet forum the killing of Jews, and had uploaded photos of his casing of Temple Emanuel, an historic Jewish synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado, about two hours driving time South of Denver. He also uploaded photographs of himself with others, holding guns, knives, with white supremacist symbols.

He allegedly also hired a "witch doctor during 2018, to inject arsenic into the water supply of a synagogue and place a hex on the building.

He was allegedly planning on attacking the synagogue on Saturday evening, NOV-02, using Molotov cocktails -- a.k.a. petrol bomb, gasoline bomb, poor man's grenade, etc. It is an incendiary weapon consisting of a flammable substance in a breakable glass bottle with some form of wick that would be set on fire just before the bottle was thrown. They were widely used during the Spanish Civil War and World War II. They are still occasionally used today during political protests.

He has been charged with attempting to obstruct the free exercise of religious beliefs with the attempted use of explosives. 1 This is regarded as federal hate crimes, and might result in a 20 year jail sentence if he is found guilty. 2

He believes that the Nazi Holocaust which killed over 6 million Jews in Europe during the mid-20th century never happened. However, he posted on Facebook the message:

"I wish the Holocaust really did happen .... they need to die."

Dean Phillips, a FBI Special Agent said at a news conference:

"This case emphasizes our continued efforts to aggressively and promptly address threats to our community to include violence against places of worship. I cannot stress enough the importance of reporting threats in our neighborhoods."

The temple was built 119 years years ago and is on the National Register of Historic Places2 It has a congregation of about 35 families. 

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2019-NOV: Mass murder allegedly planned at Episcopal church in Georgia:

A teen aged girl, aged 16, was accused of planning to attack churchgoers at an Episcopal church in Gainesville, GA. The girl is white and the church parishioners are mainly black. Her fellow students had told school administrators that she had a notebook filled with "detailed plans" to kill members of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Gainesville. Sgt. Kevin Holbrook of the Gainesville Police Department said that the alleged plot was:

"... definitely racially motivated. [It contained] manifesto-type" language. ... There were many writings and drawings, different depictions, and a lot of hateful messages in it. As far as the details go, they were down to very specific information.""

It discussed assaulting black parishioners with butcher knives and other sharp-edged weapons.

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, head of the Sixth Episcopal District of the AME Church, said:

"While we are very concerned about this incident, we are not surprised. Hate crimes and domestic terrorism have been on the rise for many years, but it is unfortunate we cannot have this perpetrator prosecuted on hate crimes in Georgia because there is no law on the books to address it. ... We are thankful to God that this plot was stopped before anybody was either killed or injured."

Georgia is one of four states in the U.S. that lacks an anti-hate crime law. The others are Arkansas, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Bishop Jackson appears to credit God with preventing the teen's plans from being acting upon. Some may assign credit to the girl's fellow students in addition or instead of God.

Jeremy Williams, the Gainesville City Schools Superintendent said:

"As a school system that celebrates our diversity, we are beyond stunned with the recent development. However, we are extremely proud of our students notifying school administration of a possible off-campus threat." 4

The Rev. Rose Johnson Mackey, director of the Newtown Florist Club, a civil rights organization founded in Gainesville 70 years ago, said:

"It just grieves my spirit on a number of different levels, one that the intentions of this young person were so calculated to do great harm against people who just simply had no knowledge of such a plot. 5

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Webmaster's comment:

I scanned through a bunch of articles on this topic, and a large number of comments to those articles made by readers. All seem to have assumed that the accused young woman actually planned to commit a homicidal attack on the church. None suggested that she might have been merely fantasizing about the attack, and never planned to actually carry it out. I think that the latter is a possibility.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Zia H. Shah, "FBI arrests alleged white supremacist accused of planning to bomb a Pueblo synagogue." The Muslim Times, 2019-NOV-04, at:
  2. David Shortell, "FBI arrests alleged white supremacist accused of planning to bomb a Pueblo synagogue." CNN, 2019-NOV-05, at:
  3. Julie Turkewitz, "White Supremacist Plotted to Bomb Colorado Synagogue, F.B.I. Says." New York Times, 2019-NOV-04, at:
  4. Derek Hawkins, "White teen girl detailed plan for racist attack on black churchgoers in notebook, police say," Washington Post, 2019-NOV-20, at:
  5. "16-Year-Old Girl Accused of Planning Attack on Black Church in Georgia," Time, 2019-NOV-20, at:

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Copyright © 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2019-NOV-15
Updated on 2019-NOV-28
Author: B.A. Robinson
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