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Man Arrested for Threatening to 'Shoot Up' LGBTQ+ Event

Michael Zahara

A political blog connected to the man espoused blunt opinions and used racist epithets about local officials of color.

A former Nevada Democratic Party official who turned Republican in 2018 has been arrested for threatening to commit a mass shooting event at an LGBTQ+ event in Las Vegas.

Michael Zahara, 61, of Las Vegas was taken into custody on Friday by officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police after he allegedly sent threatening terroristic threats to the state's chapter of the Human Rights Campaign. According to a report from local CBS affiliate KLAS, Zahara allegedly sent a text message to HRC in Nevada saying he was "planning to shoot up Nazi HRC event" taking place yesterday at the LGBTQ+ Center of Southern Nevada.

Police were alerted and contacted the owner of the number, who in turn said it was an old number that had not been used by his family in 15 years. After further investigation, it was determined the number was now in use by Zahara. When contacted on the number, police say Zahara admitted he sent the message in response to a mass distribution text message from HRC, saying he was "planning to shoot up Nazi HRC event"

After his arrest, Zahara allegedly told police Democrats were "terrorizing him with their propaganda" and admitted sending a text saying he intended to "stop by with his piece" to October 18 event, but added that he thought he was responding to a bot rather than an actual person.

According to police, this was not the first time Zahara has been suspected or charged with making threatening remarks to others.

Police alleged Zahara threatened a representative from transit authority RTC last December, saying he would "shoot up the place because his appointment was not soon enough." Last July, he reportedly told representatives of the city's Mobility Training Center they were discriminatory and "wondered why you guys don't get shot up more" and that he was "hoping someone shoots you up."

While a member of the executive board of the Nevada Democratic Party in 2008, he allegedly tried to extort roughly $5,000 from a candidate in a local election and also allegedly threatened other officials at the state Democratic convention. According to a report in the Las Vegas Review Journal, Zahara allegedly threatened candidate Sanje Sedera, a native of Sri Lanka, saying he would tell others Sedera had enjoyed in IRS and mortgage fraud, as well as engaging in "terrorist rebel activity."

Zahara became a Republican in 2018 after 30 years as a Democrat. He ran a political blog where he espoused blunt opinions and used racist epithets about local officials of color.

Zahara is charged with falsely communicating an act of terrorism is being held in the Clark County Detention Center on $20,000 bail. He is due to appear in court on November 1 for his preliminary hearing.

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