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Vegas suspect tells police ‘Jews and police were out to get him’

The 37-year-old confessed to threatening to “shoot up” a Nevada synagogue.

The synagogue at Chabad of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of
The synagogue at Chabad of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of

A Las Vegas man has been arrested after allegedly making threats against the city’s Chabad of Southern Nevada.

Michael Sanchez, 37, allegedly called one of the Chabad rabbis on Sunday, threatening to “shoot up” the synagogue. The rabbi contacted law enforcement and provided Sanchez’s phone number.

At his home, Sanchez confessed to authorities that he made the call, adding that “Jews and police were out to get him.” Las Vegas police officers arrested him on Monday, and he is being held on $20,000 bail.

“Unfortunately the news story going around is true,” the Chabad of Southern Nevada posted on Facebook late Tuesday night. “We were threatened this past Sunday by a troubled individual who spewed hatred towards us in particular and Jews as a whole.”

“We would like to thank Metro and the FBI for taking these threats seriously and making sure we are safe,” they wrote. “Thankfully, within hours the perpetrator was taken into custody.

“By continuing to add in Torah and mitzvos while spreading positivity, we will continue to light up Las Vegas and be a force for good,” they added, using the Hebrew word for good deeds.

In a video posted on Facebook, Stefanie Tuzman, president and CEO of the state’s Jewish federation, said that “violent antisemitic attacks are becoming more common, and it’s a devastating reminder that we are still being targeted simply for being Jewish.”

She noted that recent antisemitic incidents included the murder of Jews in Jerusalem on Shabbat and the attempted fire-bombing of a New Jersey synagogue.

This is not the Las Vegas synagogue’s first bout with antisemitism.

In May 2017, a man set fire to both a trash can inside the building and a car in the synagogue parking lot while the congregation conducted evening prayer services inside. That suspect was also quickly apprehended.

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