weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Man facing terrorism charge after threating to shoot up synagogue

A man was held on $100,000 bail Wednesday after calling a Las Vegas synagogue and threatening to shoot people. Michael Sanchez, 37, started calling Chabad of Southern Nevada, on Arville Street, several times late last month to say Jewish people were pedophiles and enslaving others, a rabbi told the Metropolitan Police Department.

On Sunday, Sanchez called again from his cellphone, which had a San Diego area code, and said Jewish people did not deserve to live.

The rabbi said Sanchez referenced the 2019 fatal shooting inside a synagogue in Poway, California. The shooter, John T. Earnest, also admitted to attempting to burn down a mosque in Escondido a month earlier, federal prosecutors said. He was sentenced to life plus 30 years for the hate crimes.

“The threats Sanchez made scared him and the synagogue changed its security posture to address a possible threat,” the Las Vegas rabbi told police.

Detectives tracked Sanchez’ cellphone to the Senior Garden Apartments on East Charleston, where they found no weapons.

Sanchez told police that Jewish people and police were out to get him, and he admitted to making the threat, according to the arrest report.

Sanchez said he was an Army veteran who deployed twice to Iraq, and officers noted signs of paranoia.

“They attempted to get family contact information from Sanchez, but he became agitated and declined to provide their information,” police wrote. “He told officers his family would tell them lies about him.”

Sanchez was arrested at the scene on Jan. 29 and charged with making a threat in an act of terrorism. He is expected to appear in court again Feb. 15.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.