LAS VEGAS — FBI agents found rags, gasoline, aerosol cans and weapons along with booby traps, fireworks and handwritten notes of military and survival tactics while serving search warrants on three Nevada men who authorities say sought to spark violence during recent Las Vegas protests, according to police reports obtained Monday.
U.S. prosecutors say Stephen T. Parshall, 35, Andrew T. Lynam Jr., 23, and William L. Loomis, 40, have ties to a loose movement of right-wing extremists advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government. Authorities said the men hoped to carry out a plan to create civic unrest by capitalizing on protests over businesses closed due to the coronavirus and later, 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.
Parshall, Lynam and Loomis, all white men with U.S. military experience, each currently face two federal charges: conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive, and possession of unregistered firearms. They also face charges of felony conspiracy, terrorism and explosives possession in state court.
They were arrested May 30 as they prepared to attend a protest of Floyd's death after filling gas cans at a parking lot and making Molotov cocktails in glass bottles, prosecutors said in charging documents.
In the bed of Parshall's truck, the FBI found strips of red rags and gasoline, according to a police arrest report. Inside the truck were aerosol cans and weapons.
Inside Loomis' home, the FBI found handwritten notes of military tactics, possible scouting routes and locations outside the city limits. They also found “kill boxes, survival tactics, fireworks as distractions," an explosive made of material used primarily for target practice and other traps, according to a police report.
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Nevada did not respond to messages seeking more information about the “kill boxes.”
Attorney Robert Draskovich, representing Parshall, said his client intends to plead not guilty and will fight the charges.
“This case is based primarily on a confidential informant, which is inherently unreliable,” Draskovich said Monday. “I’m concerned about what this person has to gain by telling this story.”
Lawyers for Loomis and Lynam did not immediately respond Monday to messages seeking comment.
The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas last week said the men self-identified as part of the anti-government “boogaloo” movement, a loose, internet-rooted 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 men are being held on $1 million bond each in the Clark County jail. They're due to make court appearances next week.
After his arrest, Lynam told officers during a police interview that the group started on Facebook but evolved to recruit “like-minded individuals” at rallies and protests with members being vetted undergoing physical training and surveying law enforcement at the protests and rallies.
Lynam apologized “and said he was sorry for the danger his actions may have caused to the Las Vegas citizens who were engaged in constitutionally protected activity," according to a police report.
Loomis, a U.S. postal worker, told officers during a police interview that he was looking for an outlet to express his rage, anger and frustration at the United States. He told police he tried to convince the group to go hiking instead of attending the protest the night of the arrests, but police said Loomis tried to flee during his arrest and was carrying a concealed firearm, long weapons, ammunition, radios and other equipment, according to the police report.
Parshall declined to be interviewed by police.
Associated Press writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.