Extremism & Terrorism » ADL Blogs
March 18, 2015 9

Arizona Shooting Spree Suspect May Have White Supremacist Connections

After a man­hunt that lasted sev­eral hours and involved mul­ti­ple police depart­ments, author­i­ties in Mesa announced the appre­hen­sion of a sus­pect believed respon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple shoot­ings in Mesa on March 18 that killed one and injured at least five more.   The sus­pect in the shoot­ings has been iden­ti­fied by media reports as Ryan Elliott Giroux.

Ryan Elliott Giroux

Ryan Elliott Giroux

Giroux has a past crim­i­nal his­tory, includ­ing a stint in state prison.  A Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions mug shot from his time in prison reveals that Giroux likely is or was a white suprema­cist, based on his facial tat­toos.  Giroux had the words “skin” and “head” tat­tooed on his eye­brows, while next to his left eye is a promi­nent “88” tat­too.  The numer­i­cal sym­bol “88,” which stands for “Heil Hitler” (because H is the 8th let­ter of the alpha­bet), is one of the most popular white suprema­cist tat­toos in the United States.

Giroux also has a Celtic knot­work tat­too on his chin.  Such tat­toos are pop­u­lar with white suprema­cists, though also used by others.

The shoot­ings began at a motel in Mesa around 8:45am, where two peo­ple were shot, one fatally.  The shooter went to a nearby restau­rant, where he allegedly shot a woman and stole a car.  Other shoot­ings occurred as the sus­pect tried to evade appre­hen­sion.   Mesa police offi­cers even­tu­ally tracked down and appre­hended Giroux.

The motive for the shoot­ings is not yet known.

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March 18, 2015 7

White Supremacists Target Two Anti-Racist Intellectuals

Two white suprema­cist groups, National Youth Front (NYF) and Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work (TYN), have launched a cam­paign against two intel­lec­tu­als whose work focuses on race– related issues. The two groups have orga­nized protests on cam­puses and used the Inter­net to gar­ner sup­port for their cause.

NYF member John Hess at protest in Arizona

NYF mem­ber John Hess at protest in Arizona

NYF, a branch of the white suprema­cist Amer­i­can Free­dom Party (AFP), has tar­geted Lee Bebout, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish at Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity (ASU) in Tempe. Pro­fes­sor Bebout is teach­ing a con­tro­ver­sial course called “U.S. Race The­ory and the Prob­lem of White­ness.” NYF mem­bers and sup­port­ers placed fliers declar­ing Bebout “anti-white” on cam­pus and in his neigh­bor­hood. White suprema­cist web sites such as Storm­front and Daily Stormer then pub­lished Pro­fes­sor Bebout’s con­tact infor­ma­tion. He has since received dozens of threat­en­ing and harass­ing emails and phone messages.

In early March, a small group of NYF sup­port­ers, includ­ing neo-Nazi Harry Hughes of the National Social­ist Move­ment, con­tin­ued their cam­paign against Pro­fes­sor Bebout by hold­ing a protest near ASU. Though NYF has tried to estab­lish chap­ters on var­i­ous cam­puses, the only area of real-world activ­ity appears to be at ASU. The group’s so-called direc­tor of national chap­ters, Dax­ter Reed (aka Daecca Reed) is based in North Car­olina. The leader of the group, Angelo John Gage, is a white suprema­cist based in New Jer­sey. He ran for U.S. Con­gress as an AFP can­di­date in 2014 and has done pod­casts on The White Voice, a racist Inter­net media site.

TYN, founded by white suprema­cists Matthew Heim­bach and Matt Par­rott in May 2013, has pro­moted a cam­paign against Tim Wise. Wise, an inde­pen­dent scholar, gives speeches about com­bat­ing racism at cam­puses around the coun­try. TYN mem­bers and sup­port­ers recently protested Wise’s speech at Indi­ana Uni­ver­sity at Bloom­ing­ton on March 11. Thomas Buhls, the head of the TYN chap­ter at IU—Bloomington, led a group of about 20 sup­port­ers who held signs against Wise and about end­ing “white guilt.” TYN has declared that Wise is anti-white.

Accord­ing to Buhls, a for­mer Klan mem­ber, TYN was joined at the protest by other white suprema­cists, includ­ing neo-Nazi Robert Rans­dell and mem­bers of hard­core racist skin­head group Supreme White Alliance. Buhls also reported that NYF mem­bers joined the protest, which was met by a larger crowd of anti-racist protestors.

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March 18, 2015 2

NJ Man Arrested For Trying to Join ISIS Espoused Anti-Semitism Online

Tairod Pugh

Tairod Pugh

A New Jer­sey man, indicted yes­ter­day for attempt­ing to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), marks the 12th U.S. res­i­dent charged with sup­port­ing or join­ing Islamic extrem­ism this year and demon­strates the pres­ence of anti-Semitism and role of online pro­pa­ganda in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion process.

Tairod Nathan Web­ster Pugh is a U.S. cit­i­zen and for­mer air force mechanic from Nep­tune, NJ. He allegedly attempted to travel to join ISIS in Jan­u­ary but was detained and sent back to the U.S. by Egypt­ian offi­cials. Pugh was arrested on Jan­u­ary 16, 2015, upon his return to the U.S., but the charges were made pub­lic fol­low­ing yesterday’s indictment.

Pugh’s Face­book pro­file included mul­ti­ple anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posts as well as posts sup­port­ing Hamas.

In July 2014, Pugh wrote a post that stated, in part, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within them­selves. On the day of Judg­ment full respon­si­bil­ity of the starv­ing, tor­ture, jail­ing and killing of inno­cent Mus­lims will rest upon there (sic) shoul­ders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang them­selves,” and posted an image with text stat­ing, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our G-d is Lucifer.” In August 2014, he shared an image that ref­er­enced blood libel accu­sa­tions, depict­ing Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu slit­ting the throats of sleep­ing children.

Pugh also posted sev­eral car­toons equat­ing Jews, Israel or Zion­ists to Nazis, as well as mul­ti­ple images claim­ing to depict Israeli war crimes.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh's Facebook page.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh’s Face­book page.

Although Pugh did not pub­licly post his sup­port for ISIS, he did share a quote by ter­ror pro­pa­gan­dist Anwar al-Awlaki in August 2014. Awlaki is fre­quently cited as an inspi­ra­tion for extrem­ism by Amer­i­cans who have been linked to terrorism.

Pugh allegedly also used his com­puter to research join­ing ISIS and watch ISIS pro­pa­ganda videos. An inves­ti­ga­tion report­edly found that he had used the inter­net to search for the terms, “bor­ders con­trolled by Islamic state,” “who con­trols kobani (a city that has been con­tested by ISIS),” “kobani bor­der cross­ing,” and “jarablus bor­der cross­ing,” and the feature-film length ter­ror pro­pa­ganda video “Flames of War,” which depicts and apoc­a­lyp­tic strug­gle between ISIS and the West. He had also allegedly viewed a chart of cross­ing points between Turkey and Syria and had down­loaded at least one ISIS exe­cu­tion video, along with other ISIS videos.

Addi­tional Face­book posts by Pugh demon­strated anti-U.S. sen­ti­ment. One post from August 2014, taken from Iran­ian con­trolled media out­let Press TV, depicted pro­test­ers burn­ing an effigy of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. A post ear­lier that month included an arti­cle that Pugh wrote describ­ing “the rape of a Mus­lim woman by the Amer­i­can forces.” Accord­ing to media reports, some Face­book posts not pub­licly avail­able also expressed Pugh’s desire to never return to the U.S.

Pugh also shared images prais­ing the ter­ror group Hamas. In August 2014, he shared an appar­ent image of Hamas mil­i­tants “returned safely after 21 days of siege.” In July 2014, he shared a photo of Hamas mil­i­tants with the cap­tion, “Thank you! You make us proud …”

The 12 U.S. res­i­dents charged with Islamic extrem­ism related ter­ror offenses this year have been arrested in 7 dif­fer­ent states includ­ing New Jer­sey, New York, Illi­nois, Ohio, Vir­ginia, Indi­ana and Mis­souri. Pugh is also the 31st Amer­i­can res­i­dent pub­licly linked to ISIS since 2014.

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