Posted on: December 13, 2020, 09:16h.
Last updated on: December 13, 2020, 09:59h.
Three alleged extremists accused of planning to attend a Las Vegas Strip Black Lives Matter (BLM)-organized protest armed with Molotov cocktails have federal and state cases heading to trial.
Stephen Parshall, age 36, Andrew Lynam, age 23, and William Loomis, age 40, are scheduled to stand trial in federal court on March 8. Each is charged with conspiring to cause destruction by fire and explosives and possessing an unregistered destructive device, a Molotov cocktail, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Each man pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. The three were being held without bail this weekend.
Beyond the federal cases, each is scheduled to appear for a June 21 trial in Clark County District Court. State charges are felony terrorism and explosive violations, the Review-Journal said.
Officials claim each of the three has ties to the Boogaloo movement. It is a right-wing group.
Some of its members allegedly want to start a civil war in the US. Members sometimes have taken part in violent incidents.
Before their arrests, the three men in Las Vegas allegedly schemed to use a firebomb to damage a power substation and federal buildings, the Review-Journal said. Out of concern, FBI agents apprehended the trio on May 30, given they were allegedly planning to throw Molotov cocktails at police officers during a BLM protest, the report said.
On June 17, the trio were indicted by federal and Clark County grand juries. An unnamed informant told FBI agents about the nefarious activities.
Extremists Pose Concern for Casinos, Tourists
The presence of armed militia could impact tourism on the Las Vegas Strip,” Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, told Casino.org. The Strip also has seen crime-related shootings and other violence in recent months.
“Las Vegas has worked hard to have a concerted effort between the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Metropolitan Police, and casino security to provide an environment that tourists should feel secure [in] at any time of the day or night walking on The Strip,” Cabot added.
“While persons have a First Amendment right to use The Strip for peaceful protests, no reason exists for the protestors to bear arms, particularly assault rifles and other weapons, intended to intimidate others,” Cabot cautioned.
Working with law enforcement, casinos “need to remain vigilant in following these activities to assure that tourists on private property adjacent to the sidewalks and street remain safe and unthreatened,” he said.
The Rev. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College who closely follows gambling trends, agrees.
“This type of group makes many people very nervous,” McGowan warned. “Given that Vegas had trouble containing violence earlier this year, this group thought that they could cause havoc with groups and individuals.”
Wounded Las Vegas Officer Remains on Ventilator
The springtime and summertime BLM protests in Las Vegas led to numerous arrests and injuries. One Metro police officer, Shay Mikalonis, age 30, was shot in the head in June while arresting a protestor during a BLM protest near Circus Circus Hotel & Casino.
The officer is reportedly paralyzed with spinal cord injuries. He uses a ventilator to breathe, the Review-Journal said.
The alleged shooter, Edgar Samaniego, age 20, remains in custody on attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon charges. His bail was set at $1 million. He has no alleged ties to the Boogaloo movement.