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Utah man charged with attempting act of terrorism at LDS church

Updated March 13, 2020 - 9:32 pm

A Utah man is charged with attempting to commit an act of terrorism by deploying an explosive device outside an Overton church in August.

Clark County Detention Center records show Tyler Frazier, 41, was booked at the jail Thursday on charges of fourth-degree arson, possessing an explosive device and committing an act of terrorism.

An arrest report for Frazier indicates he confessed to placing a fuel tank containing diesel fuel and hooked up to a wire outside the “LDS Church in Moapa Valley” sometime in August because of animosity he has toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He told Metropolitan police investigators that he blamed the church for his mother’s suicide and that he is angry at it because churches are often found near schools.

“Frazier also shared with us he has seen the LDS church (location of incident) across the street from Moapa High School and it ‘burns him up,’” an investigator wrote in the report.

The investigation leading to Frazier’s arrest started at 9 a.m. Aug. 18 when a caller reported finding “at the LDS Church in Moapa Valley” a “fuel container placed on a brick pony wall right next to the church building.”

Fuel can found next to church

Police arrived and located the fuel can next to the church.

“Attached to the fuel container was a long lengthy (piece) of wire tied to the handle of the gas can,” police wrote. “The other end of the wire was draped onto the roof of the church building.”

Police then went to a hardware store in Overton and examined surveillance video, which showed a man buying a kerosene can days earlier.

The can was a different color than the one found at the church, but investigators speculated the man might have purchased the can to replace the one used at the crime scene. Investigators noticed the man was in his 30s with a dark beard and dark hair.

Three days later, an officer in Overton was driving down Moapa Valley Drive when the officer saw a driver that looked like the man in the hardware store video.

“I was able to see the driver of the vehicle clearly as I drove by southbound,” the officer wrote. “I was positive that the driver of the vehicle was the same subject and person of interest that I observed in the surveillance video.”

The man, identified by police as Frazier, was wearing the same shoes and hat as the man in the video surveillance, police said. He was arrested for driving with a revoked driver’s license and taken to the Clark County jail.

Frazier was read his Miranda rights and interviewed. He told police he bought property in Moapa Valley two years ago because his biological grandfather lived there.

“Frazier told us his mom committed suicide approximately a year and a half ago,” police wrote. “Since then his family situation has become very difficult regarding the whole family dynamic and the family’s inheritance.”

Frazier told police he returned to Moapa Valley in late July to take a job.

Blames mom’s death on church

“Frazier told us he blames the passing of his mother on the Mormon Church and his unborn children never seeing their grandmother because of the monopolizing of the LDS Church in certain areas back in Utah,” police wrote. “He feels the LDS Church monopolizes on communities to include public schools, breaking people down. He finds it has been very impactful and insulting to him.”

The report goes on to say that “he wanted the church to know he didn’t share it’s beliefs.”

According to police, Frazier said he was drinking beer the day the crime was committed. He put the fuel can next to the church and climbed onto the roof, police said, and he described the explosive device in detail.

“Ultimately he felt he didn’t ‘need a notch’ on his belt, meaning he didn’t want to see the fire,” police quoted Frazier as saying.

He said he remembers waking up in his car in the church parking lot in the middle of the night.

“He said he didn’t ‘give a (expletive)’ if he got caught,” police said.

Online District Court records show Frazier was indicted in September. Questions about his competency were detailed in court in January. The next court date for Frazier is scheduled for March 27.

Contact Glenn Puit at gpuit@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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