A Las Vegas security guard with ties to a neo-Nazi group has been arrested by federal authorities after plotting domestic terrorist attacks against a synagogue and LGBTQ bar. Conor Aiea Climo, 23, was arraigned in federal court on August 9 and charged with one count of possession of an unregistered firearm, described by the Justice Department as “component parts of a destructive device.” The items were found in his home during an August 8 raid led by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Climo caught the eye of investigators after they noticed him using encrypted messages to chat online about attacking a Las Vegas synagogue, and making Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices known as IEDs. In May 2019, Climo started communicating over the internet with an FBI Online Covert Employee (OCE) who was posing as an alt-right extremist.
Climo told the OCE about his plans to target the synagogue and the Las Vegas chapter of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization that fights against anti-Semitism and bigotry. Climo told the undercover informant he was excited about the prospect of carrying out his attacks. During their online chats, Climo frequently used racial, anti-Semitic, and homosexual slurs.
“Threats of violence motivated by hate and intended to intimidate or coerce our faith-based and LGBTQ communities have no place in this country,” United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada said in a Justice Department press release.
LGBTQ community member Amanda O’Hara expressed concern after hearing of Climo’s plot. “You could be just like out, living your life and have some crazy person come in and like kill everybody for some twisted, hateful reason.”
Climo’s next court appearance is on August 23. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Here’s what you need to know about Conor Climo.
1. Climo Has Been Communicating With Neo-Nazi Groups Since 2017
The FBI’s criminal complaint alleges that Climo has been communicating with white supremacist groups since 2017. These groups condone terrorist activity against Jews, the LGBTQ community and anyone of non-European descent. They also support the idea of bringing down federal agencies to advance hate-filled ideologies.
Climo described himself as a member of the Feurerkrieg Division (FKD), a splinter group of a larger white supremacist organization, Atomwaffen Division. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit organization that monitors hate groups like the AWD in the United States, calls the AWD “a series of terror cells that work toward civilizational collapse.”
Climo said the group was interested in him because of his bomb-making knowledge. He started speaking with FKD members using the encrypted chat messaging application Discord but eventually switched to the chat app Wire for greater privacy.
In addition to his communications with the FKD, Climo’s YouTube account shows he has an interest in alt-right, Neo-Nazi philosophy, weapons, and war. One unnamed neighbor described him as “very ‘anti’ a lot of different groups.”
2. Climo Hoped to Put Together a Team of Snipers for the Synagogue Attack
Climo told investigators his goal was to assemble an eight-team sniper platoon for the synagogue shootings. He also attempted to get a homeless person to conduct “pre-attack” surveillance on the synagogue he was planning to attack.
During the raid on Climo’s home, the FBI’s task force found a list of potential targets, including synagogues, gay bars, police leadership, and the ADL. Investigators who searched his family’s home discovered a notebook in Climo’s bedroom filled with detailed attack plans and drawings of how to make explosive devices.
Centennial Hills residents were shocked to see FBI agents swarm Climo’s house but were grateful he was caught before anyone was harmed. “I’m really happy that nothing did occur and that whoever saw the red flags did something about it,” neighbor Meg Shay said.
3. Climo Patrolled his Own Neighborhood With a Gun & Knife Until Neighbors Complained
In September 2016, KTNV reported that Climo took it upon himself to patrol his Centennial Hils neighborhood, armed with a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, knife, and walkie-talkie. Climo planned to walk the streets in search of “suspicious activity” six hours each day, explaining to a local reporter that “he’d had it with crime.”
Climo described “suspicious activity” as anyone outdoors “probably when they’re not supposed to be.” One neighbor recalled stepping outside to walk her dog only to have Climo approach her and ask, “Who are you?” and “Why are you here?”
Climo explained to the media that as the neighborhood’s sole patrol volunteer, he needed his AR-15 in the event “there is possibly a very determined enemy,” adding that he would have “a means to deal with it.” Climo walked around his neighborhood wearing camouflage toting his rifle, telling residents “I mean you no harm.”
“I’ll pretty much stay within constitutional bounds when I’m doing this,” he told neighbors. He reassured neighbors he wouldn’t shoot anyone but walked around his neighborhood wearing a military-style vest and carrying four magazines with 30 rounds each. KTNV video shows frightened neighbors running to their car as Climo stood nearby with his weapons.
Centennial Hills residents were alarmed by Climo’s odd behavior. “You don’t know this person. You don’t know if he’s mentally stable,” one unidentified neighbor said. “I don’t know what his intentions are, what his motives are, what his background is,” said another.
The day after the KTNV story broke, Climo agreed to “stand down,” and discontinue his patrol. “I realized I didn’t need all that gear,” he told KTNV. Several neighbors offered to help with Climo’s crime-fighting efforts if he’d put the gun away.
4. Climo Has Been Licensed as a Security Guard Since 2016
According to the State of Nevada Private Investigators Licensing Board, Climo is a registered as a security guard. A provisional license was issued in September 2016 and the formal license registration was in November of the same year. His license is active and expires in 2021.
Climo’s licensing information shows that he was initially hired by Interstate Security Services, then was hired by U.S. Security Associates in 2017. He started with his current employer, Allied Universal Protection Service, LLC on February 8, 2019. KTNV reported his employer has suspended him.
5. Climo Was Described as Being “Disruptive” & a “Little Weird” in High School
href=”https://www.ktnv.com/news/arbor-view-hs-student-says-climbo-often-bragged-about-making-bombs” target=”_blank”>Mark Johnson, Climo “didn’t have much of a filter,” when speaking with other students at Arbor View High School, and often bragged about his bomb-making abilities. Johnson recalled no one took him seriously. “He was just Conor Climo,” Johnson said, describing Climo as “stern,” “a little disruptive” and a “little weird” with female classmates.
According to Johnson, Climo often talked about joining the military. During a 2016 interview, Climo told a reporter he’d been in the army “very briefly,” but would not elaborate. That same year, he created a Change.org petition to repeal the ban on machine gun sales.