A four-hour standoff between police and an anti-government extremist ended with the fatal shooting of the extremist in Navarre, Florida, on March 9. Members of the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team killed Jeffery Allen Wright, 55, while attempting to serve felony arrest warrants on multiple charges related to counterfeiting.
After deputies first arrived at Wright’s home, Wright fled to the garage, then up the stairs to the second story of the garage, where he barricaded the stairwell and fired a shot from a handgun. Refusing commands to surrender, Wright allegedly repeatedly dared police to “come and get him” and warned deputies that if they came upstairs they would “not come back down.” The officers called the SWAT team to the scene. Wright reportedly did not respond to the overtures of investigators and an attempt by the police to use tear gas was unsuccessful.
Later, Wright allegedly moved some of the items barricading the stairs and sat down at the top of the stairwell, holding a gun. According to police, Wright pointed the handgun at SWAT officers at the bottom of the stairs, causing several of them to fire at Wright, killing him.
The arrest warrants against Wright stemmed from a traffic stop incident in September 2012 when a deputy pulled Wright over for speeding. Wright, an adherent of the anti-government sovereign citizen movement, did not believe that the government had any authority over him. He was reportedly belligerent during the traffic stop, refusing to provide a driver’s license or get out of his vehicle. He provided the arresting officer with an “Affidavit of Reservation of Rights,” a phony sovereign citizen document designed to warn officers that actions against them are a violation of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) . Wright was ultimately charged with resisting an officer and obstruction of justice, and cited for not having a valid tag or vehicle registration. He later attempted to use fraudulent money orders (a common sovereign citizen tactic) to pay the Santa Rosa County Clerk’s office for the citations he received during the traffic stop; this resulted in the counterfeiting charges.
In 2010 and again in 2012, Wright filed UCC documents as part of a sovereign citizen tactic known as “redemption,” a complicated set of conspiracy theories that allege the government created fictitious duplicates of all American citizens to use as collateral for its international debt. In the 2012 document, Wright uses typical sovereign citizen phraseology and symbology, such as declaring that his address is “without the U.S.” and putting brackets around the zip code (sovereign citizens have specific conspiracy theories about zip codes).