In 2018, domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S., a sharp increase from the 37 extremist-related murders documented in 2017, though still lower than the totals for 2015 (70) and 2016 (72).
The 50 deaths make 2018 the fourth-deadliest year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which said the killings were ‘overwhelmingly linked to right-wing’ movements.
In 2017 and 2018, the ADL estimated there were 3,417 incidents of extremism or anti-Semitism in the United States.
ADL’s Center on Extremism developed the estimate with data extracted from information sources including news and media reports, government documents (including police reports), victim reports, extremist-related sources, and its own investigations.
The extremist-related murders in 2018 were overwhelmingly linked to right-wing extremists.
Every one of the perpetrators had ties to at least one right-wing extremist movement, although one had recently switched to supporting Islamist extremism.
Deadly shooting sprees were a major factor in the high death toll, among them the Parkland school shooting. Five of the 17 incidents involved shooting sprees that caused 38 deaths and injured 33 people.
White supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings, which is typically the case.
Scott Beierle conducted a shooting spree at a yoga studio, killing two and wounding or injuring five more before killing himself on November 2, 2018, in Tallahassee, FL, Beierle, who had posted racist and misogynistic videos to YouTube, appears to have been motivated by the extreme misogyny of the “manosphere.”
White supremacist Robert Gregory Bowers, 46, conducted a deadly shooting spree October 27, 2018, in Pittsburgh, PA, at the Tree of Life synagogue, killing 11 and wounding seven more. Bowers appears to have been motivated by anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant convictions.
Jeremy James Shaw, 39, of Tacoma, allegedly conspired with his wife, Lorena Shaw, 37, to kill a Renton, Washington, man and steal his house and property on September 19, 2018. Shaw was a white supremacist who owned a business called Aryan Enterprises.
White supremacist Joden Rocco, 24, was charged with homicide after allegedly fatally stabbing an African-American man walking down the sidewalk outside a bar on August 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh, PA. Rocco had earlier posted a video in which he allegedly claimed that he and others were going to go to bars to see how many times they could say the n-word before being kicked out.,
On August 11, 2018, in Sumter, SC, Demetrius Alexander Brown, allegedly a self-proclaimed sovereign citizen, shot and killed a man at an automobile repair shop following a dispute.,
Richard Starry, 61, shot and killed four people who were family members or family connections in two locations around Robstown, TX, before killing himself on July 27, 2018. According to a media source, Starry, who had an extensive criminal record, had belonged to a white supremacist group while in prison.
James Mathis and Amanda Gail Oakes allegedly killed their six-month-old son and put his body in a freezer in a hotel on June 4, 2018, in Dothan, AL, before fleeing to Florida where they were arrested. Mathis was reportedly a member of the Ghost Face Gangsters, a Georgia-based white supremacist prison gang.
Malachi Qaadir Dorns, 19, an alleged self-proclaimed sovereign citizen, reportedly used a knife to kill his brother and wound his mother following an argument on May 11, 2018, in Athens, GA.
Roger Melvin Tackett, 44, walked into the Abingdon, VA, residence of an acquaintance on May 4, 2018, and shot him to death during a dispute. According to poice, Tackett has multiple white supremacist tattoos.
Jason Auvenshine, 47, killed a man on a skateboard in an auto collision then fled the scene on March 24, 2018, in Port Aransas, TX. Prosecutors said Auvenshine was a member of a white supremacist prison gang and even had a gang manual in his vehicle at the time of the collision. In May 2018, Auvenshine was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render assistance and received two concurrent life sentences.
John Daniel Carothers, a resident of a Veteran Affairs assisted living home in Murfreesboro, TN, and a white supremacist, allegedly killed his African-American roommate by setting him on fire on March 17, 2018. He has been charged with first degree murder, aggravated arson and eight counts of reckless endangerment.,
Corey Johnson, 17, allegedly went on a stabbing rampage during a sleepover at a Palm Beach Gardens, FL, house, killing a 13-year old child and severely injuring two others on March 12, 2018. Johnson had long been obsessed with Nazis and white supremacists and within the past year had also become interested in radical Islam and a fan of Anwar al-Awlaki. Johnson allegedly subsequently told investigators he had carried out the stabbings because of his Muslim faith. He has been charged with first degree murder and attempted first degree murder.,
Nikolas Cruz, 19, conducted a shooting spree at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, in Parkland, FL, killing 17 and wounding 17 more. Cruz was a budding white supremacist — though that does not appear to have been the motive for his February 14, 2018, shooting spree.
Samuel Woodward, 20, a member of the white supremacist group Atomwaffen, allegedly stabbed to death a former high school classmate of his who was gay and Jewish on January 2, 2018, in Orange County, FL. Woodward has been charged with murder and a hate crime enhancement.
There is also an abundance of reports about right-wing extremism that was stopped before slayings occurred
In a chilling postscript to Robert Bowers’ murderous October shooting spree at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, authorities in Washington, D.C., arrested one of his on-line associates, Jeffrey Clark, Jr.
After family members contacted law enforcement out of concern that Clark, 30, might become violent, he was arrested and charged on November 9, 2018 with illegal transportation of a firearm across state lines, possession of an illegal high-capacity magazine, and unlawful use of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).
Clark was among the hundreds of white supremacists who showed up for the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Dakota Reed, 20, of Monroe, Washington, was charged with malicious harassment—Washington’s hate crime statute—and making bomb threats in December 2018. Authorities also seized a cache of firearms, ammunition and white supremacist propaganda from Reed’s residence.
Elizabeth LeCron and Vincent Armstrong of Toledo, Ohio, were arrested in December 2018 on multiple charges related to a plot to blow up Toledo bar in order to cause mass casualties.
The couple was fascinated by mass killers, including Roof. LeCron created a Tumblr account called “CharlestonChurchMiracle” and even corresponded with Dylann Roof by mail, telling him to “be strong” after he murdered nine people in a racially motivated shooting spree at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
The perpetrator of one of 2018’s deadly shooting sprees, at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, was connected to the misogynistic incel/manosphere movement.
In the wake of this attack and a similarly-motivated killing spree in Toronto, Canada, ADL’s COE now tracks such incidents as extremist-related killings and has updated its database to include an earlier incel-linked incident, Elliot Rodger’s 2014 shooting spree.
Firearms remain the weapon of choice for extremists who kill. Guns were responsible for 42 of the 50 deaths in 2018, followed by blades or edged weapons.
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