PUEBLO, Colo. (CBS4) – The second oldest synagogue in Colorado faced its first threat in 119 years over the weekend. The President of the Board of Directors for Temple Emanuel in Pueblo is hoping to simply move forward.
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“My first reaction was to thank the police department and the FBI because they were on it, and they stopped this from happening. My eternal gratitude to them,” said Michael Atlas-Acuña. He was notified about the arrest of Richard Holzer on hate crime charges Monday morning before CBS4’s Rick Sallinger broke the story.
The FBI intercepted Holzer in September and began engaging with him online.
They continually met with him through late-October as Holzer allegedly developed his plan to cause a destructive event at the historic synagogue.
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“I don’t want to minimize it, nor do I want to exaggerate. Nothing happened and that’s the good news,” said Atlas-Acuña.
For the past two years, Temple Emanuel has been secured by an armed guard. Atlas-Acuña says many members open-carry.
“We have done a lot to make sure we are safe. We’re going to be vigilant about that, and we’re not going to let ourselves be victims. At least not intentionally,” said Atlas-Acuña. “There are definitely bad people out there, but we can’t forget that there are a lot of great people, and we live in a great country. There are good people here.”
Support from around the world and especially the tight-knit community has come pouring in.MORE NEWS: Colorado Governor Orders Flags Lowered On Tuesday After Death Of Firefighter Darcy Stallings
“That’s Pueblo. Pueblo is a really supportive community. And one of the things I want to make a distinction is, this idiot is not a Puebloan. He came from another community. He hasn’t lived here very long,” said Atlas-Acuña. “People in Pueblo, they’re reacting the way I thought they’d react, and that’s to just lend their support.”