US authorities prevented multiple white nationalist attacks in recent weeks
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US authorities prevented multiple white nationalist attacks in recent weeks

Since El Paso shooting, at least 7 men arrested over plans to target Hispanics, Jews and LGBT people

Yamileth Lopez with a photo of her deceased friend Javier Amir Rodriguez at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting which left at least 22 people dead, on August 6, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP
Yamileth Lopez with a photo of her deceased friend Javier Amir Rodriguez at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting which left at least 22 people dead, on August 6, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

US law enforcement agencies have arrested multiple people suspected of planning mass shootings and other forms of white nationalist-inspired violence over the course of the past month.

Local police forces nationwide, as well as federal law enforcement, have been on high alert since a gunman opened fire at an El Paso Walmart, killing 22 people, on August 3. In a manifesto posted online before the attack, the shooter said he was fighting back against a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas.

The mass shooting in Texas was followed by a spate of arrests of white nationalists in various stages of planning racist or anti-Semitic attacks.

On August 8, 23-year-old security guard Conor Climo was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with possession of bomb-making materials. He had discussed attacks on targets, including a synagogue, with white supremacists, prosecutors said.

Authorities seized a notebook with hand-drawn plans for a potential attack in the Las Vegas area and drawings of timed explosive devices.

This Sept. 22, 2016, photo from video from KTNV 13 Action News shows Conor Climo during an interview while walking a Las Vegas neighborhood, heavily armed. (KTNV 13 Action News via AP)

One week later, on August 15, 22-year old Brandon Wagshol was arrested after posting on Facebook about his interest in perpetrating a mass shooting. Police confiscated weapons and body armor. Talking Points Memo reported that had had also written racist transphobic comments online.

Over the next two days, two other men were detained on similar charges. Tristan Scott Wix, 25, of Florida allegedly texted that he wanted to “break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever” while 20-year-old James Reardon of Ohio threatened a Jewish community center in a video that authorities say showed him shooting a semi-automatic rifle.

Reardon was arrested on charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing, a day after a Jewish organization contacted authorities. Ammunition, semi-automatic weapons, a gas mask and anti-Semitic material were found at a house in New Middleton where he lives with his mother, police said.

On Tuesday, authorities announced the arrest of 35-year-old Eric Lin, who was detained in Seattle over messages he had sent to a Hispanic woman, threatening her and her family, expressing support for Adolf Hitler and calling for the extermination of Spanish-speaking people and other ethnic groups.

A White nationalist is shown during a rally near the White House on the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, August 12, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In one communication, he wrote “I will let you live so you can slowly watch me destroy your Entire Race, then your family will be targeted for being ‘Anti-American’ which they are.”

It was also reported on Tuesday that trucker Thomas Matthew McVicker had been arrested after saying he would commit a mass shooting at a church in Memphis, Tennessee. He was apprehended in Indianapolis before the plan could be carried out.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that a New Jersey man had been arrested on weapons charges after police found a weapons stash consisting of 17 guns and a rocket launcher, as well as drugs and neo-Nazi materials, in his home. He had not made any threats.

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