New Documents Detail Lead-Up To Attempted Pueblo Synagogue Bombing — And What Authorities Found In Suspect’s Home

November 15, 2019
A photo of a single-family home in Pueblo identified in a search warrant in connection to the case of an attempted synagogue bombing.A photo of a single-family home in Pueblo identified in a search warrant in connection to the case of an attempted synagogue bombing.U.S. District Court
A photo of a single-family home in Pueblo identified in a search warrant in connection to the case of an attempted synagogue bombing.

A search at the home of a Pueblo man accused of plotting to blow up a historic synagogue yielded a host of white supremacist paraphernalia, according to newly-released court documents.

Richard Holzer, 27, awaits trial in federal custody in Denver after police arrested him on November 1 for intending to plant explosives at Pueblo’s Temple Emanuel Synagogue. What Holzer believed to be explosives were actually fake pipe bombs, provided to him by undercover FBI agents. 

Holzer had been communicating with the agents online and in person for weeks leading up to his arrest, expressing hatred of Jewish people and his wishes to engage in a racial holy war. 

The court documents detail Holzer’s correspondence with the agents, which started after one reached out to Holzer on Facebook posing as a woman with white supremacist leanings. This eventually led to an in-person meeting at a Colorado Springs restaurant on October 17th between Holzer, a friend of Holzer’s referred to as “Skeeter” and three undercover agents. 

Holzer told the agents he had paid a man to contaminate Temple Emanuel’s water supply a year earlier with arsenic, which could not be corroborated by investigators. 

Holzer said he wanted to “vandalize the place beyond repair” and let Pueblo’s Jewish community know “they’re not wanted here.” The agents say Holzer was the first person to eventually bring up the idea of using explosives on the synagogue. 

A search and seizure warrant issued by the U.S. District Court of Colorado listed items taken from Holzer’s home, including a KKK card, a photo of Adolf Hitler and belongings bearing Nazi swastikas. 

While Holzer had posted images of himself holding firearms along with anti-Semitic sentiments, the only weapon law enforcement found in his home was a machete. 

Temple Emanuel is the second-oldest synagogue in Colorado and was completed in 1900, according to Temple Emanuel's website.

Mike Atlas-Acuna, president of the synagogue’s board of directors told CPR earlier this month that the institution already posts armed guards and he encouraged members of his congregation to bring firearms to services.