Army Vet Accused in Vegas Synagogue Threat
By KEN RITTER
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ A U.S. Army veteran accused of telephoning threats to “shoot up” a Southern Nevada synagogue will undergo a mental evaluation to determine if he will face criminal charges, a judge decided Wednesday.
Michael Sanchez, 37, spoke quietly with his attorney, Rochelle Clove, before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini called off a preliminary hearing, accepted Clove’s request for a competency review and scheduled Sanchez to remain in custody pending an appearance in state court March 10.
Sanchez’s father, also named Michael Sanchez, of Hemet, California, has been pleading since his son’s arrest for police and court officials to provide psychological care for his son, who the father said has exhibited ongoing erratic behavior after suffering head injuries while serving in the military in Iraq.
“This is what he needs,” the father said Wednesday of the court-ordered evaluation. “We’re glad the court can accommodate this request.”
Sanchez was arrested Jan. 29 after police said he called a rabbi at a synagogue, said congregants were child molesters who deserved to die and referred to a shooting in April 2019 at a synagogue in Poway, California, that killed a woman and wounded three others.
Las Vegas police said that following his arrest, Sanchez exhibited signs of paranoia, admitted calling and threatening “to shoot up the synagogue” and said he believed Jews and police were out to get him.
Sanchez’s father told The Associated Press two weeks ago that his son was honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant and has received Veterans Administration psychological treatment several times for what the father attributed to post-traumatic stress.