domestic terrorism » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘domestic terrorism’
July 19, 2016 23

Alarming Rate of Extremist Related Shootouts with Police in 2016

Since Jan­u­ary 2009, ADL has tracked 70 inci­dents in which shots were fired between police and domes­tic ide­o­log­i­cal extrem­ists.  Eighty-four per­cent of those involved were pur­vey­ors of extreme right-wing ideologies. Type of Extreme Ideology 2009 to present

The July 17 attack on Baton Rouge police marks the ninth such inci­dent this year.  With nine inci­dents year-to-date, verses a full-year aver­age of 8.5 for the past seven years (2009–2015), these inci­dents are occur­ring at an alarm­ing rate. They are on pace to match the spike of such inci­dents which occurred in 2013.

This year’s inci­dents have involved a wide-range of ide­o­log­i­cal extrem­ists, includ­ing anti-government extrem­ists, white suprema­cists, Islamic extrem­ists and left-wing extremists.

Inci­dent sum­maries for 2016:

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July: Gavin Eugene Long, who had con­nec­tions with the “Moor­ish move­ment,” an off­shoot of the anti-government extrem­ist sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment, was killed by a Baton Rouge SWAT team mem­ber after he ambushed offi­cers respond­ing to a call of a sus­pi­cious per­son with an assault rifle. The shootout started when three offi­cers, Mon­trell Jack­son, Matthew Ger­ald, and Brad Garafola, con­fronted Long near a con­ve­nience store. Long opened fire on the offi­cers, imme­di­ately strik­ing Jack­son and Ger­ald, and shoot­ing Garafola as he tried to assisted the two wounded offi­cers. All three offi­cers died. Long con­tin­ued to engage respond­ing police in shootouts, wound­ing three addi­tional offi­cers.  The shootout ended when a mem­ber of the Baton Rouge SWAT team shot and killed Long from approx­i­mately 100 yards away.

Dal­las, Texas, July: Micah Xavier John­son, who expressed inter­est in and had some ties to mil­i­tant Black Nation­al­ist groups, was killed by a police dur­ing a stand-off after he ambushed a group of police offi­cers dur­ing a protest in Dal­las, Texas. Wear­ing a bul­let­proof vest and armed with three weapons, John­son killed five offi­cers and injured nine oth­ers. Two bystanders were also wounded. Dur­ing the shootout John­son moved from loca­tion to loca­tion, exchang­ing gun­fire with at least 12 dif­fer­ent police offi­cers. After an hours-long stand­off, in which John­son report­edly laughed, sang, and said that he wanted to kill white peo­ple, espe­cially white police, he was killed by a police deployed bomb-carrying robot.

Orlando, Florida, June: Omar Mateen, who pledged alle­giance to ISIS and called the Boston marathon bombers his “home­boys,” opened fire on the patrons of a gay night­club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and wound­ing more than 50. After the ini­tial attack, Mateen took hostages, result­ing in a three-hour stand­off which ended when police entered the build­ing using an armored vehi­cle and stun grenades. Mateen was killed in the fol­low­ing shootout. One offi­cer was shot in the head and suf­fered an eye injury. by year

Doo­ley County, Geor­gia, April: White suprema­cist Joseph J. Harper died after a shootout with law enforce­ment offi­cers who were at his home with a court order to col­lect prop­erty awarded to Harper’s ex-wife. Armed with sev­eral weapons, and wear­ing a gas mask and body armor, Harper allegedly pointed a shot­gun at Doo­ley County deputies who were attempt­ing to retrieve the prop­erty. The deputies retreated and called in the Tri-County SRT Team with sup­port from the Geor­gia State Patrol and Lown­des County SWAT teams, and obtained an arrest war­rant for aggra­vated assault.  Dur­ing the lengthy stand­off that fol­lowed, Harper moved in and out of the home fir­ing rounds at the deputies and SWAT Team who returned fire at least once. After hear­ing a shot­gun blast inside the home, the SWAT team fired can­is­ters of gas and non-lethal deter­rents in to the home.  A short time later a SWAT oper­ated robot found Harper dead of an appar­ent self-inflicted gunshot.

Mobile, Alabama, April: Mobile police arrested white suprema­cist gang mem­ber Ryan Burkhardt after he insti­gated a shootout with police. Accord­ing to the Mobile police chief, Burkhardt shot at under­cover offi­cers who were attempt­ing to arrest him after he allegedly sold them hand­guns and ille­gal drugs.  Burkhardt allegedly first attempted to flee on his motor­cy­cle, but was forced to run on foot after he crashed his motor­cy­cle. As he ran to a nearby field, he fired mul­ti­ple shots at pur­su­ing offi­cers strik­ing one in the abdomen and thigh.  The offi­cers returned fire strik­ing Burkhardt twice.  Burkhardt, a mem­ber of the Mis­sis­sippi Aryan Broth­er­hood, faces five counts of attempted mur­der, attempt­ing to elude police, and carry a pis­tol with­out a permit.

Crocket, Texas, March: Mem­bers of the Crocket police depart­ment arrested a man and woman with ties to the Aryan Broth­er­hood after they shot at police dur­ing a car chase. Police encoun­tered Earl Davis Williams and Kayleigh Anne Davis, both of Geor­gia, after respond­ing to call to a trailer park about a man try­ing to break into trail­ers. As offi­cers arrived they saw the vehi­cle leav­ing and stopped it. As one offi­cer was speak­ing with the occu­pants, another offi­cer called out an alarm that an occu­pant was armed with a shot­gun, and the dri­ver sped away.  Dur­ing the sub­se­quent chase the pas­sen­ger shot out the back win­dow of their vehi­cle and shot two Crock­ett county patrol cars in pur­suit. Both Williams and Davis were arrested after they crashed their car and fled on foot.  The offi­cers were not injured.

Evans, Col­orado, Feb­ru­ary:  Luke Miller, a wanted felon and a mem­ber of the Aryan Broth­er­hood, was killed by police after he shot at a police offi­cer and ignored com­mands to drop his weapon. Offi­cers with the Evans Police Depart­ment first encoun­tered Miller when they approached two sus­pi­cious men in a secluded area while respond­ing to a report of a sus­pi­cious vehi­cle in the area.  One of the men, later iden­ti­fied as Miller, fled on foot and later shot at one of the offi­cers dur­ing a 90-minute multi-agency search.  Even­tu­ally cor­nered by offi­cers, Miller was shot after he again raised his gun at police and yelled, “Shoot me. Kill me.”

Burns, Ore­gon, Jan­u­ary:  Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, one of the anti-government extrem­ists involved in the Jan­u­ary 2nd armed takeover of the Mal­heur National Wildlife Refuge head­quar­ters near Burns, Ore­gon, was fatally wounded by Ore­gon State Police (OSP) troop­ers dur­ing an attempt by the OSP and the FBI to arrest Finicum and a num­ber of key occu­piers. Finicum was shot after he fled a traf­fic stop, exited his vehi­cle in a snow bank, and reached for a weapon in his pocket.

Philadel­phia, Penn­syl­va­nia, Jan­u­ary: Edward Archer report­edly approached Philadel­phia police offi­cer Jesse Hartnett’s patrol car, and using a stolen semi-automatic hand­gun, fired at least 13 shots directly into the driver-side area of the vehi­cle. Archer report­edly told police his alle­giance was to ISIS and believed that police defend laws con­trary to the teach­ings of the Qu’ran.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

June 24, 2016 2

Law Enforcement: Standing in the Line of Fire

The recent attack on the les­bian, gay, bisex­ual and trans­gen­der (LGBT) com­mu­nity in Orlando that left 49 dead and more than 50 wounded is yet another exam­ple of law enforce­ment stand­ing in the line of fire in the fight against domes­tic extremism.

From 2009 to the present, at least 64 mem­bers of law enforce­ment have been shot by domes­tic extremists–including anti-government extrem­ists, white suprema­cists, domes­tic Mus­lim extrem­ists and oth­ers. Eigh­teen of those shoot­ings were fatal. Addi­tional offi­cers might have lost their lives had they not been wear­ing pro­tec­tive vests or, as in the case of the Orlando attack, a Kevlar helmet.

Since Jan­u­ary 2009, ADL has tracked 68 sep­a­rate inci­dents (includ­ing seven so far this year) in which shots have been fired between domes­tic extrem­ists and law enforce­ment in the United States. These inci­dents include sit­u­a­tions in which shots were exchanged between police and extrem­ists (shootouts), sit­u­a­tions in which extrem­ists have fired at police but police sub­dued the extrem­ists with­out hav­ing to return fire, and sit­u­a­tions in which offi­cers had to use their firearms to pro­tect them­selves against extremists.

The moti­va­tions that led the extrem­ists to vio­lence dur­ing these encoun­ters vary. Many were sim­ply try­ing to escape after police offi­cers caught them engaged in crim­i­nal behav­ior unre­lated to their extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy. For oth­ers the encounter with police became the cat­a­lyst for vio­lent ide­o­log­i­cal action. In some cases, vio­lence esca­lated to a “last stand” sit­u­a­tion in which the extremist(s) had to have known their actions would likely result in their own deaths. The most dis­turb­ing inci­dents, how­ever, are those (like the Orlando attack) in which the encounter occurred as police responded to and con­fronted extrem­ists who were in the midst of a directed and planned attack. TW-TargetsofAttacks

Fif­teen (22%) of the 68 extrem­ist encoun­ters with law enforce­ment were the result of direct attacks by the extrem­ists. In other words, these encoun­ters started purely due to the extremist’s ide­ol­ogy. In six of those cases, the extremist(s) con­ducted planned attacks on civilians–including the LGBT com­mu­nity in Florida, a Sikh tem­ple in Wis­con­sin, a Planned Par­ent­hood clinic in Col­orado, and employ­ees of the Trans­porta­tion Secu­rity Admin­is­tra­tion at the Los Ange­les air­port. In seven cases, the ini­tial attack was directed at law enforce­ment, and resulted in the assas­si­na­tions of three offi­cers. In Jan­u­ary of this year, an addi­tional offi­cer mirac­u­lously sur­vived an assas­si­na­tion attempt in Philadel­phia. In the remain­ing two cases, extrem­ists attacked mem­bers of the U.S. military.

Since 2009, offi­cers have encoun­tered domes­tic extrem­ists in 28 dif­fer­ent states. Sev­eral states have expe­ri­enced mul­ti­ple inci­dents. Texas law enforce­ment has endured 10 of the 68 encoun­ters (nearly 15%). In four of the Texas cases, the extremist(s) were linked to the Aryan Broth­er­hood of Texas or the Aryan Cir­cle, demon­strat­ing the state’s par­tic­u­lar prob­lem with large white suprema­cist prison gangs. In fact, mem­bers of racist prison gangs were involved in three of the seven shoot­ing inci­dents which have already occurred this year—including encoun­ters in Texas, Alabama and Colorado.

Florida has with­stood the sec­ond high­est num­ber of inci­dents, reach­ing eight encoun­ters with the addi­tion of the Orlando attack. Col­orado offi­cials have faced five inci­dents, and suf­fered through the loss of Col­orado Springs Offi­cer Gar­rett Swasey. Swasey, the most recent law enforce­ment casu­alty at the hand of domes­tic extrem­ists, died in the line of duty dur­ing a mass shoot­ing by an anti-abortion extrem­ist in Novem­ber 2015 at a Planned Par­ent­hood clinic.

Unfor­tu­nately ide­o­log­i­cal extrem­ists con­tinue to add to the dan­gers faced by law enforce­ment. An untold num­ber of lives were saved due to the efforts of the law enforce­ment offi­cers who con­fronted the 76 extrem­ists involved in these 68 inci­dents. These offi­cers put them­selves into dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions in order to pro­tect and serve the com­mu­ni­ties in which they live.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

December 3, 2015 0

Bonnie and Clydes Rare—But Not Unheard Of—In Violent Extremism

Syed Farook

Syed Farook

Back­ground infor­ma­tion on Syed Farook and Tash­feen Malik, the mar­ried per­pe­tra­tors of the tragic mass shoot­ing at the Inland Regional Cen­ter in San Bernardino, Cal­i­for­nia, is still sparse, as is clar­ity con­cern­ing the motive behind the vicious attack that left 14 dead and 21 wounded.

How­ever, accord­ing to media reports from the in-progress inves­ti­ga­tion, there is grow­ing con­cern among law enforce­ment offi­cials that the shoot­ings may have had a con­nec­tion to Islamic extrem­ism or that there might have been a mixed extremist/workplace motive behind them.  The FBI has said that it is now treat­ing its inves­ti­ga­tion of the killings as a counter-terrorism investigation.

One thing that is exceed­ingly rare in tra­di­tional work­place shoot­ings is for there to be mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors, as there was in this case.  As one law enforce­ment offi­cial told The New York Times, “You don’t take your wife to a work­place shoot­ing, and espe­cially not as pre­pared as they were.  He could have been rad­i­cal­ized, ready to go with some type of attack, and then had a dis­pute at work and decided to do something.”

Mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors are cer­tainly com­mon in extremist-related crimes, of course, despite the exis­tence of the “lone wolf” phe­nom­e­non.  Women are also fre­quently involved in extremist-related crim­i­nal activ­ity in almost every extrem­ist move­ment in the United States.

How­ever, when one exam­ines recent crim­i­nal cases in the U.S. involv­ing domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists, one finds that female part­ners of male perpetrators—even when them­selves involved in crim­i­nal activities—have not typ­i­cally engaged in vio­lence.  Over­seas, women have some­times taken on more vio­lent roles, includ­ing as sui­cide bombers.

If an Islamic extrem­ist motive is con­firmed in the San Bernardino shoot­ings, the fact of husband-and-wife shoot­ers would be a new wrin­kle in the his­tory of the vio­lent tac­tics of that move­ment in the United States.

Extremist-related vio­lence involv­ing hus­bands and wives—or non-married partners—is actu­ally not unheard of in the United States, but it tends to come from a very dif­fer­ent source:  right-wing extrem­ism.  Though not what one could call a com­mon phe­nom­e­non, such vio­lent “Bon­nie and Clyde” cou­ples do emerge with reg­u­lar­ity from within both the white suprema­cist and anti-government extrem­ist move­ments in the United States.

In fact, right-wing extrem­ism even pro­duced an exam­ple of the exceed­ingly rare phe­nom­e­non of a mar­ried cou­ple both of whom were on death row:  anti-government extrem­ists Linda Lyon Block and George Sib­ley.  In 1993, the two sov­er­eign cit­i­zens non-fatally stabbed Block’s ex-husband, then while on the run mur­dered an Alabama police offi­cer in a shootout.  Both were exe­cuted in the 2000s.

In more recent years, extrem­ist cou­ples have been involved with every­thing from stand­offs with police to hate crimes to ter­ror­ist con­spir­a­cies.  But some of the most shock­ing “Bon­nie and Clyde” inci­dents have involved mul­ti­ple homi­cides com­mit­ted by white suprema­cists and anti-government extremists:

  • Jerad and Amanda Miller, a young mar­ried cou­ple who adhered to the anti-government ide­ol­ogy of the mili­tia move­ment, tar­geted two Las Vegas police offi­cers for assas­si­na­tion in June 2014, killing them at a pizza restau­rant as they ate their Sun­day lunch.  The cou­ple crossed the street to a Wal-mart in antic­i­pa­tion of a final shootout with first respon­ders, where Amanda killed an armed civil­ian try­ing to stop them.  As they had intended, they did both die dur­ing a shootout with law enforce­ment at the store, with a wounded Amanda killing her­self after Jerad was shot.
  • Jeremy and Chris­tine Moody, white suprema­cists from Union County, South Car­olina, killed a nearby mar­ried cou­ple in July 2013 in a par­tic­u­larly grisly dou­ble homi­cide in which both vic­tims were shot and stabbed.  The Moodys had tar­geted the vic­tim because they wanted to kill a reg­is­tered sex offender and found the male victim’s name and address on the Inter­net.  They killed his wife because she had mar­ried a sex offender.  Both pleaded guilty to mur­der in 2014, receiv­ing life sen­tences with no parole, but were unre­pen­tant, with Chris­tine Moody call­ing the day of the mur­ders “the best day of my life.”
  • Holly Grigsby and David Ped­er­sen, a white suprema­cist cou­ple from Ore­gon, embarked upon a multi-state mur­der spree in 2011 that totaled four killed before police could find and stop them.  The pair trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton to mur­der Pederson’s father and step­mother, each killing one vic­tim, then killed a young man in Ore­gon to steal his car and because they thought he might be Jew­ish.  They killed an African-American man in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia in another car­jack­ing attempt, though they did not end up tak­ing the vehi­cle, then were finally appre­hended by the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol.  Grigsby told the arrest­ing offi­cers that they were to Sacra­mento to “kill more Jews” when they were stopped.  Both pleaded guilty to a vari­ety of crimes and received life sentences.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,