PUEBLO, Colo. (CBS4) – Members of a Pueblo synagogue returned for their first service Friday night since learning of a foiled bomb plot. FBI agents arrested Richard Holzer on Nov. 1 in an alleged plot to blow up Temple Emanuel.
Federal law enforcement worked with the Pueblo Police Department to stop what authorities called an “imminent threat of domestic terrorism.”
Unsealed federal court documents reveal FBI agents became aware of racist, anti-Semitic and threatening statements made by Holzer on social media. An undercover FBI agent reached out to Holzer, 27, on Facebook and said he sent her buttons with swastikas and claimed he used to be with the Ku Klux Klan.
Members of the synagogue said they were shocked to hear of Holzer’s arrest.
“My first reaction is shock. Also a little bit of pride in the law enforcement community as well as the city of pueblo in how they handled it,” said Debbie Knecht, who attends the synagogue.
Temple Emanuel already has strict security in place. The Rabbi said he plans to add more surveillance cameras to the building.
Meantime, Holzer is facing a charge of “attempting to obstruct persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs, through force and the attempted use of explosives and fire.”
The suspect made his first appearance in federal court on Monday on a charge of attempting to obstruct the free exercise of religious beliefs with the attempted use of explosives — a hate crime. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of no more than $250,000, or both.
The news of the foiled bomb plot comes just over a year after Robert Bowers was arrested and is suspected in the killing of 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Pittsburgh area.