California man who allegedly plotted mass shooting at synagogue free after posting bail
A California man who allegedly wanted to carry out a mass shooting of Jews and police officers has been from custody after he posted $125,000 bail over the weekend.
Ross Farca, 23, was taken into custody last week after a joint investigation by the FBI and police in Concord, on the outskirts of San Francisco.
According , the arrest stemmed from Farca’s comments on the gaming platform Steam, where he operated under the account name “Adolf Hitler (((6 Million))),” and where he regularly made comments idolizing the mass shooters who carried out the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego. He also referred to Jews as “subhumans.”
When police searched his home, they allegedly discovered a homemade AR-15 rifle, 13 magazines, a sword, a hunting knife, camouflaged clothing, books about the Hitler youth and Nazi life, as well as additional pistol ammunition.
Farca had also had previous run-ins with the police, including a 2011 incident when he was placed in a mental health hold.
Farca has been charged with making criminal threats, as well as manufacturing and possessing an assault weapon.
In a , the Concord Police did not offer any updates as to Farca’s bail conditions but noted that they were working to “keep those threatened apprised of any developments” and urged the public to be vigilant, noting that this case came to their attention via an online tip.
Farca’s bail is the latest example of the limits law enforcement is running up against in arresting and prosecuting far-right extremists and lone wolves.
In April, Christopher Hasson, an avowed white nationalist and Coast Guard lieutenant, was , despite being described by prosecutors in court documents as a “domestic terrorist” who had assembled an arsenal of weapons and drawn up a “hit-list” of prominent Democratic politicians and journalists. The bail argument went to appeal where U.S. District Judge George Hazel eventually ruled that .
Another prime example of the struggles law enforcement face when dealing with far-right extremism is the case of Dakota Reed in Everett, Washington. According to , who first began investigating the 20-year-old last year, Reed made repeated threats of murder on Facebook, including writing “I am shooting for 30 Jews” in November 2018 and claiming in a video one month later that he was “fixing to shoot up” a school.
That video also showed Reed had white supremacist propaganda displayed around his bedroom and owned an AR-15 rifle.
The FBI weighed charging Reed, but did not feel they had enough of a case, in part due to the fact that Reed’s Facebook threats, while undeniably hateful, were protected by the First Amendment. They eventually decided to pass it on to local law enforcement, who arrested him on charges of making bomb threats. In June, he was sentenced to just one year in prison.
Meanwhile, the FBI has repeatedly warned that the one of the main terror threats facing the country comes from self-radicalized lone wolves — the kind that, as Hasson, Reed, and Farca demonstrate, officials have difficulty prosecuting.
“We are most concerned about lone offenders, primarily using firearms, as [they] represent the dominant trend for lethal domestic terrorists,” Michael McGarrity, the FBI’s assistant director of counterterrorism, told the House Committee on Homeland Security in May. “Frequently, these individuals act without a clear group affiliation or guidance, making them challenging to identify, investigate, and disrupt.”
Farca’s preliminary hearing to determine whether he will stand trial is set for June 25. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.