3 Plotted To Terrorize Vegas Protests 06/04 06:18
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Three Nevada men with ties to a loose movement of
right-wing extremists advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government have been
arrested on terrorism-related charges in what authorities say was a conspiracy
to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas.
Federal prosecutors say the three white men with U.S. military experience
are accused of conspiring to carry out a plan that began in April in
conjunction with protests to reopen businesses closed because of the
More recently, they sought to capitalize on protests over the death of
George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white officer pressed
his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and
pleading for air, prosecutors said.
The three men were arrested Saturday on the way to a protest in downtown Las
Vegas after filling gas cans at a parking lot and making Molotov cocktails in
glass bottles, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by The
"People have a right to peacefully protest. These men are agitators and
instigators. Their point was to hijack the protests into violence," Nicholas
Trutanich, U.S. attorney in Nevada, told AP. He referred to what he called
"real and legitimate outrage" over Floyd's death.
The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Wednesday said
they self-identified as part of the "boogaloo" movement, which U.S. prosecutors
said in the document is "a term used by extremists to signify coming civil war
and/or fall of civilization."
Stephen T. Parshall, 35, Andrew T. Lynam Jr., 23, and William L. Loomis, 40,
were being held on $1 million bond each in the Clark County jail Wednesday,
according to court records. Lynam is from suburban Henderson and the others are
from Las Vegas.
The complaint said Lynam is an Army reservist, with Parshall formerly
enlisted in the Navy and Loomis formerly enlisted in the Air Force.
Each currently faces two federal charges conspiracy to damage and
destroy by fire and explosive, and possession of unregistered firearms. In
state court, they've been accused of felony conspiracy, terrorism and
explosives possession. Trutanich said they'll be prosecuted in both
"This type of planning and intent on causing mayhem is terroristic and will
not be tolerated," said Steve Wolfson, the district attorney in Las Vegas.
Attorney Monti Levy, representing Loomis, declined to comment about the
state case and did not immediately respond to a question about whether she'll
represent Loomis in federal court.
A deputy public defender representing Parshall declined to comment and an
attorney appointed to represent Lynam did not immediately respond to messages.
A confidential informant met Lynam and Parshall at an early April rally in
Las Vegas calling for the reopening of the state's economy, the federal
complaint said. The men were carrying firearms and Lynam said the group "was
not for joking around and that it was for people who wanted to violently
overthrow the United States government," according to the complaint.
The informant said that during a May 27 meeting, Parshall and Loomis
"discussed causing an incident to incite chaos and possibly a riot, in response
to the death of a suspect," a reference to Floyd.
Loomis stated he wanted to firebomb a power substation, according to the
informant in the criminal complaint.
But on May 28, Lynam instructed the group to observe the riots occurring
nationwide and use that momentum as a driving force to possibly take action
against a fee station at Lake Mead on federal land north of the Hoover Dam, on
May 30. Other targets discussed included a U.S. Forest Service ranger station,
the complaint said.
The informant stated that Parshall and Loomis' "idea behind the explosion
was to hopefully create civil unrest and rioting throughout Las Vegas."
They wanted to use the momentum from riots occurring nationwide because of
Floyd's death "to hopefully stir enough confusion and excitement, that others
see the explosions and police presence and begin to riot in the streets out of
anger," the complaint said.
On May 28-29, FBI agents observed Parshall buy fireworks at a tribal travel
plaza, and he indicated to the informant that he had glass bottles, rags and
gasoline Molotov cocktails, the complaint said.
On May 30, all three and the informant agreed to take part in the Black
Lives Matter protest in downtown Las Vegas, the complaint said.
The charges come as intelligence officials are warning that "violent
opportunists" have been emboldened nationwide by attacks on law enforcement
officials amid protests.
In a Tuesday internal intelligence assessment, U.S. Department of Homeland
Security officials warned "this could lead to an increase in potentially lethal
engagements with law enforcement officials as violent opportunists increasingly
infiltrate ongoing protest activity."
AP obtained a copy of the document, which cites the shooting of a Las Vegas
police officer during protests, and two other officers shooting a heavily armed
man at a nearby federal courthouse.
"Law enforcement officers continue to be the primary targets of firearm
attacks, though several incidents last night involved violent opportunists
shooting into crowds of protesters," the assessment states.
The anti-government "boogaloo" movement is a loose network of gun
enthusiasts who often express support for overthrowing the U.S. government. Its
name, a reference to a 1984 movie sequel called "Breakin' 2: Electric
Boogaloo," is a code word for a second civil war.
The movement is rooted in online meme culture, but the coronavirus pandemic
has become a catalyst for real-world activity. Many "boogaloo" followers have
shown up at COVID-19 lockdown protests armed with rifles and wearing tactical
vests over Hawaiian shirts and leis, a nod to the "big luau" derivation of the
While some "boogaloo" promoters insist they aren't genuinely advocating for
violence, law-enforcement officials say they have foiled bombing and shooting
plots by people who have connections to the movement or at least used its