The Washington Post reports that Larry McQuilliams, the man who fired off more than 100 rounds into downtown Austin early Friday morning, is now being called a “homegrown American extremist” by Austin police officials. They also report that McQuilliam may have ties to a Christian identity hate group.
McQuilliam was put down by a police officer outside the department’s headquarters. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters on Monday that police searched McQuilliam’s home and found a map with 34 targets; among the targets two churches. McQuilliams had fired shots into the Austin police headquarters, a federal courthouse, and the Mexican consulate. He also tried to set the Mexican consulate flag on fire.
Officials found a note and clothing laid out on his bed; the note said that the outfit was for his funeral. McQuilliam had no intention of walking out alive; as he emptied his more than 100 rounds into downtown Austin on Friday, he fully expected to be killed: “let me die” was written across his chest in marker.
The police had a hard time finding a motive for the attack. On Monday, federal investigators said that the gunman didn’t leave a note detailing his motives, but told friends that he was upset that he couldn’t find a job. The previous speculation that the current immigration debate could have been a factor was reinforced by his friends, who noted that he was angry immigrants were receiving assistance while he was unable to find a job.
Police believe that McQuilliams had ties to the Phineas Priesthood, which is an anti-Semitic, anti-multicultural affiliation of racists and bigots who oppose biracial relationships, same-sex marriages, taxation, and abortion. A copy of “Vigilantes of Christendom” was found in the rental van that McQuilliams used during the attacks; the book has been linked to the Priesthood. Inside was a handwritten note that “discusses his rank as a priest in his fight against anti-God people,” according to Acevedo.
Evidence obtained by @Austin_Police determined Suspect McQuliams was a self-titled “High Priest” of the “Phineaus Priesthood.”
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) December 1, 2014
Police Chief Acevedo added that, “If you look at what he did, he terrorized a city, he’s just an American terrorist trying to terrorize our people.”
Affiliates of the Phineas Priesthood were tied to a string of bank robberies in 1996. The Priesthood takes its name from the character of Phineas, in the book of Numbers, who slew an Israelite man and a Midianite woman that were together in a tent, practicing some of that good ol fashioned Bible-based Morality. This Bible verse is also one of the Bible verses that the right-wing uses to oppose interracial relationships.
While not a organization in the traditional sense — they don’t have meetings, rallies, or newsletters, and membership is mostly self-designated — the Anti-Defamation League notes that “extremists become ‘members’ when they commit ‘Phineas acts:’ any violent activity against ‘non-whites.”
So all together, we have an extremist right-wing Christian (albeit one most Christians would see as heretical) terrorist who fired off more than 100 rounds into downtown Austin, hoping for a death by cop. His motivation appears to be jealously and immigration, which is what the GOP has been turning into this month’s apocalypse (last month’s was Ebola — everyone still remembers Ebola, right? Bueller?)
But by all means, continue worrying about the ISIS overseas; let’s ignore the one we’ve got festering in the right-wing here at home.
h/t Washington Post