A 26-year-old alleged white supremacist who the FBI says was "serious about killing black people" has been charged with terrorism for pulling the emergency brake on an Amtrak train in an attempt to derail it, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.
Taylor M. Wilson of St. Charles, Missouri, was arrested Dec. 23 and is facing federal charges of "terrorist attacks and other violence against railroad carriers and against mass transportation systems." According to the affidavit filed in court, Wilson's cousin told FBI agents that he belongs to a neo-Nazi group and had talked about "killing black people" before the incident.
The incident unfolded Oct. 23 when Wilson allegedly breached a secure area of an Amtrak train as it was passing through a rural area near Oxford, Nebraska, and applied the emergency break, bringing the train to a rapid halt in what authorities said was an attempt to derail and wreck the train.
An assistant conductor told officers that he found Wilson "playing with the controls" in the engineer's seat. The conductor said that Wilson first appeared to be lucid and then started "saying crazy things about going to the moon." After the crew members subdued Wilson, he told them, "I'm the conductor, bitch," according to court documents.
When a deputy who was patting Wilson down after his arrest asked him what the bulge in his pocket was, Wilson replied, "My dick." The deputy then located a speedloader — a device used to quickly reload a revolver — as well as a fully loaded .38-caliber handgun in Wilson's front waistband.
Passengers on the train also directed authorities to Wilson's backpack, which contained three more speedloaders, a box of ammunition, a hammer, a fixed blade knife, tin snips, scissors, a tape measure, and a respirator-style mask, court documents state.
Wilson was also carrying a business card for the Detroit-based National Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Authorities say he was also carrying a business card for the Covenant Nation Church in Alabama, whose preacher told the FBI was a "Christian Identity" church based on the belief that "white people are part of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel."
On searching Wilson's cell phone, authorities discovered a video of a white supremacist banner being placed on a highway, a series of PDF files titled "100 Deadly Skills" related to killing people, as well as copies of the books The Anarchist Cookbook and The Ultimate Sniper.
His cousin, Andrew Olney, who shared an apartment with him in St. Louis since June, told authorities that Wilson was "serious about killing black people," especially during the St. Louis protests.
Olney told FBI agents that Wilson had traveled with a neo-Nazi alt-right group to the violent protests in Charlottesville in August and that he had taken a shield and a bulletproof vest. According to Olney, Wilson and the white supremacist group he belongs to were also responsible for putting up "whites only" signs at businesses in an unknown location.
Wilson was also sitting on a stockpile of weapons and ammunition, authorities say.
According to the affidavit, Wilson had shown his cousin 20 to 25 guns that he owned, including an AK-47, AR-15s, and an M-4 rifle. On Dec. 13, FBI agents found a tactical vest, 11 AR-15 ammunition magazines, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. They also found a handmade shield and white supremacy–related documents.
His father, Michael Wilson, who was aware of his son's stockpile of weapons, also provided the FBI with 15 firearms, including handguns and rifles, and tactical body armor. Wilson's parents told authorities that they had never known their son to be involved with drugs or the white supremacist movement, and refused to disclose any discussions about race relations that they had had with him, according to court documents.
Wilson had earlier been charged with use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and criminal mischief in Furnas County. His attorney had requested a competency hearing, claiming Wilson's "mental health issues are currently untreated," the Omaha World-Herald reported. Wilson, however, was deemed competent to proceed with a trial.
His attorney did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at email@example.com.
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