White supremacist charged with terror attack on Amtrak train

Kristopher Nichols
January 7, 2018

An armed Missouri man arrested for pulling the emergency brake on an Amtrak train in rural western Nebraska is allegedly a white supremacist who now faces a terrorism charge, according to newly unsealed court papers.

Wilson had broken into a restricted area of the train and was "playing with the controls," according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, until workers and others were able to stop him and subdue, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.

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 similar, court documents state.

Local authorities charged Wilson with criminal mischief and weapons possession. Inside, they found a tactical vest, 11 AR-15 rifle magazines and other accessories, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a pressure plate that can be used to make a bomb, gunpowder and white supremacy documents.

The train was heading eastbound with about 175 people aboard, when the break was pulled and the train was halted early October 22 in Oxford, Nebraska, about 200 miles southwest of Omaha.

"Agents interviewed an acquaintance of Wilson's who told them that been acting strangely since the summer, and had joined an "'alt-right' neo-Nazi group that he found while researching white supremacy forums online". They also found a business card for the National Socialist Movement, which civil rights groups say is a neo-Nazi organization.

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Bobbie Garris, a passenger on the California Zephyr, told Nebraska ABC news affiliate NTV that passengers sat in the dark for over an hour after the train came to an abrupt stop. Some items were in a hidden compartment behind a refrigerator, according to the court documents.

In an affidavit attached to the criminal complaint, FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski said there was probable cause to believe that electronic devices possessed by Wilson and firearms owned by him "have been used for or obtained in anticipation of engaging in or planning to engage in criminal offenses against the United States". A struggle broke out as train employees tried to subdue Wilson, who reached toward his waistband several times during the confrontation.

His father, Michael Wilson, who was aware of his son's stockpile of weapons, also provided the Federal Bureau of Investigation with15 firearms, including handguns and rifles, and a tactical body armor.

A relative who had moved in with Wilson in a St. Charles home on Reservoir Avenue last June told investigators that Wilson had been "acting odd". The family member also said Wilson traveled with members of the group to the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, which Federal Bureau of Investigation officials believed to be the "Unite the Right" rally in August.

Wilson, who is believed to have attended the deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville in August, is also suspected of pointing a gun at a black woman for no apparent reason while driving on Interstate 70 in 2016, Czaplewski wrote. The license plate of the man's auto tracked back to Wilson. Police drove to the train from Oxford and placed him under arrest. He also vandalized St. Louis restaurants with "Whites Only" signs last September. The cousin said Wilson "has expressed an interest in "killing black people" and others besides whites, especially during the protests in St. Louis", the affidavit said. He was arrested December 23, a day after the complaint was filed under seal in federal court in Nebraska.

After Wilson was arrested for triggering the train's brakes in October, FBI agents found weapons, tactical gear and white supremacist documents at his home.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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