The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Federal authorities file charges against 3 alleged Boogaloo followers in Nevada

Police walk through tear gas as they try to disperse protesters in Las Vegas on May 30. (John Locher/AP)

Federal prosecutors in Nevada charged three alleged members of a right-wing extremist movement with terrorism offenses and other crimes Wednesday, saying they plotted to use molotov cocktails and other explosives to spark violence at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Stephen T. Parshall, 35, Andrew Lynam, 23, and William L. Loomis, 40, were charged in federal court with conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive, and possession of an unregistered destructive device. The men also face state charges brought by local prosecutors, including conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism and providing material support for terrorism.

Men wearing Hawaiian shirts and carrying guns add a volatile new element to protests

Prosecutors said all three were members of the “Boogaloo” movement, a radical right-wing group whose adherents openly anticipate civil war. Human rights advocates told The Washington Post they have tracked Boogaloo-related groups at 40 protests related to Floyd’s killing.

Authorities said the defendants talked about targeting various businesses and structures, including a power substation near downtown Las Vegas.

“They wanted to use the momentum of the George Floyd death in police custody in the City of Minneapolis to hopefully stir enough confusion and excitement, that others see the two explosions and police presence and begin to riot in the streets out of anger,” a federal criminal complaint read.

Prosecutors said the three showed up Saturday at a protest in Las Vegas over Floyd’s death, carrying rifles and encouraging protesters to use violence.

The complaint filed in federal court said the group had met in a parking lot beforehand and allegedly started making molotov cocktails using glass bottles, gasoline and rags.

Authorities arrested the group on the spot. They said they found in one of the vehicles “myriad” fireworks, firearms, cans of hair spray, gasoline and several partially assembled molotov cocktails.

It was unclear how the three men knew one another, but the federal complaint noted that all were veterans, though had served in different branches of the military, and were members of a Facebook Boogaloo group.

According to the court document, an FBI confidential informant first encountered Lynam and Parshall in early April at a demonstration against stay-at-home regulations in Nevada. According to that account, the informant accompanied the two men and others as they plotted an attack on a U.S. Forest Service ranger station and also attended other Reopen Nevada rallies with them.

It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether the defendants had hired attorneys or entered pleas.