Feds: Teen Militia Leader in Nevada Planned ‘Mass Killings’
Authorities in Nevada may have just aborted another mass shooting with the arrest of an 18-year-old, self-professed militia leader who authorities say planned to “conduct mass killings” and “bragged about plans to shoot people on the Las Vegas strip.”
Steven Matthew Fernandes, who claimed to be a member of the Southern Nevada Militia, was arrested by FBI agents last month after three separate informants provided information about the teenager building and exploding bombs, amassing “an arsenal of weapons” and boasting of his killing prowess.
After a mass shooting spree at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in July that left 12 people dead and 58 others injured, Fernandes boasted, “I’ll beat that record,” federal court documents say.
At the recommendation of federal prosecutors, he was ordered detained as a flight risk and danger to the community at a hearing Wednesday before a U.S. magistrate judge, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
Fernandes is charged in a federal indictment with possessing and making unregistered firearms (bombs) and transporting explosive materials. Additional charges may be forthcoming, based on admissions the suspect made after he was arrested Sept. 13 outside a Radio Shack store in Las Vegas where he worked.
A loaded 10-round shotgun and additional ammunition were found in his car at the time of his arrest, according to a public court document filed by federal prosecutors and obtained by Hatewatch.
In the suspect’s bedroom in a Las Vegas home where he lived with his divorced mother and two younger sisters, agents recovered five rifles, four handguns and “thousands of rounds of ammunition,” along with a dangerous array of bomb-building materials and instructions, the document says. His mother had installed a dead bolt on the room, the document says.
“Fernandes manufactured, transported and exploded several bombs, and possessed material to make more,” documenting at least one of those test explosions on his iPhone, which he turned over to FBI agents, the document says.
Based on information Fernandes provided, agents subsequently located a rural site in Arizona where the young bomb-builder detonated at least three improvised explosive devices on Sept. 11.
The suspect “had numerous firearms of different types and thousands of rounds of ammunition (and) bragged about plans to shoot people on the Las Vegas strip, shoot people at his school and shoot preschool children and infants,” the document says.
Some of the teen’s familiarity with firearms, the court document says, came while he was a member of Boy Scout law enforcement “Explorer Post.” Fernandes, who claimed he had made at least 69 pipe bombs and discussed building poisonous gas chlorine bombs, used a “special purchasing code” from the high school he attended to buy restricted chemicals from suppliers, the document says.