LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Three Nevada men with ties to a movement of right-wing extremists have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in what authorities say was a conspiracy to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas.
U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI, and Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department made the announcement Wednesday, saying that three alleged members of the “Boogaloo” movement — a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or collapse of society — have been charged with violations of federal and state law for conspiracy to cause destruction during protests in Las Vegas, and possession of an unregistered destructive device (specifically, an improvised incendiary device commonly known as a Molotov cocktail).
“Violent instigators have hijacked peaceful protests and demonstrations across the country, including Nevada, exploiting the real and legitimate outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death for their own radical agendas,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “Law enforcement is focused on keeping violence and destruction from interfering with free public expression and threatening lives.”
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 coronavirus and later sought to capitalize on protests over the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died while in police custody when an officer knelt on his neck while he was on the ground and in handcuffs for nearly nine minutes.
The suspects have been identified as Stephen T. Parshall, 35, Andrew T. Lynam Jr., 23, and William L. Loomis, 40. They 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.
The complaint filed in U.S. District Court 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.”
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson stated:
“My office is committed to aggressively prosecuting those who make it their mission to create chaos and destruction with total disregard for the safety and well-being of our citizens and the law enforcement officers sworn to protect and serve our community. This type of planning and intent on causing mayhem is terroristic and will not be tolerated. Thankfully, the Joint Terrorism Task Force is able to identify and stop such actions. Now it’s my job to hold these men accountable.”
Parshall, Lynam, and Loomis were all arrested in Las Vegas on May 30, 2020, and are currently in state custody. They’re being held on $1 million bond each in the Clark County jail.
They’re each charged in a federal criminal complaint with (a) one count of conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive; and (b) one count of possession of unregistered firearms, that is, a destructive device. A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct for purposes of establishing probable cause, not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
“This quick and decisive action by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force underscores the exceptional partnership and professionalism of our diverse membership,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse. “Federal, state, and local agencies committed to stopping acts of terrorism before they can occur. Citizens of Nevada can take comfort that the law enforcement partnerships in this state continue to work together every day to protect them no matter the circumstances.”
If convicted of federal charges, Parshall, Lynam, and Loomis each face a statutory maximum sentence of:
- 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive
- 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for possession of unregistered firearms.
The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only. If convicted of any federal offense, the sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The charges stem from an investigation led by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Las Vegas, which includes the FBI, LVMPD, ATF, North Las Vegas Police Department, and the U.S. National Park Service.