Police in Columbus, Ohio knew that they were going to be dealing with a potentially dangerous situation when they delivered an eviction order at the home of 55-year-old Mark Kulis on Wednesday – there’s a reason why they waited for him to leave the home before executing the order.
Inside Kulis’ home they found four completed bombs and materials for the construction of more, and even the oven had been booby-trapped. The immediate neighborhood was evacuated as a precaution and one of the bombs was considered too unstable to move and had to be detonated on site.
Kulis is a “sovereign citizen,” a growing faction of people who do not believe that the government has any legitimate authority over them, and while most of these people rely on waging a paper war by filing all sorts of frivolous legal paperwork and lawsuits written in pseudo legal language, recently more of them have taken to arming themselves and resorting to violence.
Neighbors told Hatewatch, a blog published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, that Kulis has been spouting anti-government rhetoric for at least a decade, but that they had always thought that he was a harmless loner suffering from mental illness.
The walls and ceilings in the home were covered with anti-government rants as were the windows and the trees in front of his home. All of the scribbling was impossible to decipher, apparently making sense to Kulis but no one else, included were screeds naming such disparate political figures as Barrack Obama and Ohio governor John Kasich.
Kulis was originally booked into the Franklin County Jail on the weapons charge but after the discovery of the bombs and bomb making materials further charges are expected to be brought shortly, along with possible federal charges.
A father and son team of sovereign citizens killed two West Memphis, Arkansas police officers in May 2010 after being pulled over in a traffic stop. Jerry and Joe Kane were killed themselves less than an hour later in a shoot out which left two more police officers wounded.
Authorities in Columbus, being very much aware of the potential danger when dealing with these sovereign citizens planned in advance that they were going to be careful when delivering the foreclosure eviction to Kulis.
“From the beginning, we took extreme caution during this incident knowing the suspect was a sovereign citizen,” sheriff Zach Scott said. “The potential for the loss of life is great when weapons and explosives are involved.”
“The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office takes situations involving explosives very seriously,” Scott added.
Saying that Kulis was very religious and often carried a Bible around with him a neighbor added, “He once told me he had testified against a cop and a judge and, because of that, he thought the cops had put out a hit on him.”
On two occasions Kulis cut the TV cables to neighbors homes claiming that the neighbor was tapping his phone. “Every time a state vehicle would go by his house, he’d give them the finger,” the neighbor, a retired factory worker said.
Another neighbor who said that he had attempted at one time to befriend Kulis said that he had thought that he probably needed treatment for a mental illness but that he kept those thoughts to himself because, “He also made it known he had guns and was ready to use them. I think he even mentioned bloodshed.”