Accused Texas anti-semite arrested over synagogue arson

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Bricks from the destroyed roof lay at the site of the fire The member of a Texas State Guard has been charged with federal arson after a fire…

Accused Texas anti-semite arrested over synagogue arson

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Bricks from the destroyed roof lay at the site of the fire

The member of a Texas State Guard has been charged with federal arson after a fire destroyed a synagogue.

A 16-year-old youth is also charged with filing a false report.

Police say the accused planned the attack on Halloween night while on military leave in North Carolina.

The fire in April was started at the synagogue in Killeen, about 20 miles (32km) north of the capital, Austin. The damage was estimated at $700,000.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A view of the synagogue

According to a criminal complaint, the 18-year-old who allegedly started the fire told investigators he was bullied, making him angry.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption There are multiple synagogues in north Texas

“He felt it was appropriate to retaliate,” Lieutenant Nate McCue said.

“Apparently, that child read in the news or something about other synagogues being targets.”

Colleague Pardo said the teen “has a history of mental illness, but I don’t have any more details of that.”

He also called the teenager “a nice young guy”, adding he was shocked to learn of the alleged crime.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The synagogue and other buildings were empty at the time of the fire

At a press conference, police said the teen planned the attack for about a week.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A volunteer firefighter looks at the charred remains of the synagogue

He sent video of it to two friends who used paintball guns to shoot at a synagogue while he planned to set it on fire, police said.

The teen also had an online conversation with one of his friends and sent him a photo of the synagogue, according to police.

He admitted to setting the fire, but said he was just going to have a barbecue.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The alleged fire suspect confessed to setting the fire

Police also said they had contacted the FBI earlier this year after finding a pamphlet titled “Holocaust Denial Tactics” at the house of the teen, who was in the military at the time.

The burnt-out shell of the Killeen synagogue remained vacant years after the fire.

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