Selected White Supremacist Criminal Incidents, 2009-2012

September 07, 2012

The white supremacist movement in the United States has a strong association with violence and criminal activity, ranging from traditional crimes such as drug dealing or domestic violence to ideologically-related crimes ranging from hate crimes to act of terrorism. Every week new criminal incidents emerge.

Selected white supremacist-related criminal incidents from recent years are shown below:

  • Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August 5, 2012: White supremacist Wade Michael Page allegedly opens fire in a Sikh temple, killing six and wounding four before shooting himself after being wounded by police. Page was a member of the Hammerskins, a racist skinhead group. He also played in the white power bands End Apathy and Definite Hate.
  • Central Florida, May 2012: Fourteen white supremacist members of the racist skinhead group American Front are arrested on paramilitary training, hate crime, weapons and conspiracy charges. The members allegedly discussed a number of possible actions, including creating a disturbance in front of Orlando’s city hall, firing into a building, and attacking an anti-racist event.
  • Gilbert, Arizona, May 3, 2012: White supremacist and anti-immigration extremist J.T. Ready shoots and kills four people, including an infant, before fatally shooting himself.
  • Naugatuck, Connecticut, March 2012: Connecticut skinhead Stephen Sorriero is arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree assault and breach of peace relating to a St. Patrick’s Day double stabbing.
  • Illinois and Florida, March 2012: Members of a white supremacist biker gang associated with Aryan Nations are arrested in Florida on drugs and explosives charges following a three-year undercover police investigation. Some of the suspects were charged with threatening to throw a destructive device, while several others were charged with trafficking in prescription drugs and other offenses.
  • Washington, Oregon, California, September-October 2011: Unaffiliated white supremacists David Pedersen and Holly Grigsby allegedly engage in a multi-state killing spree. Authorities say that the couple murdered Pedersen’s father and stepmother in Seattle, a random white male in Oregon as part of a carjacking, and an African-American male in California as part of another carjacking.
  • Houston, Texas, August 2011: White supremacists Charles Cannon, Michael McLaughlin, and Brian Kerstetter allegedly attack a 29-year-old African American man at a Houston bus stop while hurling racial epithets at the victim. According to the indictment, at least one of the defendants used racial slurs, while all four defendants surrounded the victim, punching and kicking his head, face and body.
  • Spokane, Washington, February 2011: White supremacist Kevin Harpham is arrested for the failed bombing of a Spokane, Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day parade. Harpham planted a backpack containing a pipe bomb designed to be triggered by a radio frequency system along the parade route. Harpham was sentenced to 32 years in prison.
  • Hardy, Arkansas, January 2011: Five white supremacists associated with Blood & Honour and the racist prison gang Aryan Circle firebomb the residence of an interracial couple. Jason Barnwell was sentenced to 20 years; Gary Dodson to 15 years; Wendy Treybig, Dustin Hammond, and Jake Murphy pleaded guilty, each receiving sentences between 21 and 54 months.
  • Phoenix, Arizona, January 2011: White supremacist Jeffrey Harbin, who has ties to the National Socialist Movement, is arrested for possessing and transporting an explosive device. He was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty.
  • Cooperstown, North Dakota, January 2011: Self-proclaimed white supremacist Daniel Wacht murders and decapitates 54-year-old Kurt Johnson. Johnson's severed head was found in a crawl space in Wacht's basement. His body has not been found. Wacht was sentenced to serve life in prison with no parole.
  • California, December 2010: Thirty-four white supremacists are arrested as part of multi-agency sting operation in Southern California called "Operation Stormfront." The multi-agency law enforcement investigation resulted in the arrest of a number of white supremacists with ties to prison and street gangs and included charges that ranged from extortion to conspiracy and solicitation of aggravated assault to murder.
  • Hamilton, Ohio, November 2010: White supremacist William Hobert Manis, is arrested for the alleged kidnapping and rape of a 22-year-old woman over a 10-day period. Manis, who has the nickname “Wild Bill,” has long been affiliated with the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations. Manis was charged with 18 counts of rape and one count of kidnapping and pleaded guilty in 2011 to two charges of kidnapping and nine counts of rape.
  • San Angelo, Texas, May 2010: Richard Dennis, a member of the Aryan Circle racist prison gang, is arrested after leading police on a high-speed chase, shooting a San Angelo police officer, and barricading himself in a home. In November 2011, Dennis was sentenced to life in prison for attempted capital murder for shooting the police officer.
  • Norway, Wisconsin, November 2009: Sean Riker, a white supremacist affiliated with the gang Nazi Low Riders, a racist prison and street gang, is arrested on charges of possession of a firearm, possession of a short barreled rifle, first-degree recklessly endangering public safety, battery, strangulation, sexual abuse of a child, child abuse, and causing mental harm to a child. Riker was found guilty and sentenced to 200 years in prison.
  • Phoenix, Arizona, October 2009: Travis Ricci and Aaron Schmidt, members of the Vinlanders Social Club, a racist skinhead group, allegedly drive by and fire shots at an interracial couple walking along the street. The white female is fatally wounded.
  • Effort, Pennsylvania, July 2009: Racist skinhead Michael Parrish murders his girlfriend and infant son. Parrish was sentenced to death after a jury found him guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.
  • Washington, D.C., June 2009: White supremacist and Holocaust denier James Von Brunn opens fire with a rifle inside the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, killing a security guard before being incapacitated by return fire from another guard. Von Brunn died before being able to stand trial.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 4, 2009: White supremacist Richard Poplawski murders three Pittsburgh police officers and engages in a shoot-out with police that wounds a fourth before he is apprehended. He was arrested, charged, and convicted three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.
  • Brockton, Massachusetts, January 21, 2009: Keith Luke, an unaffiliated white supremacist, kills two Cape Verdean immigrants and rapes and shoots a third. After a brief chase by law enforcement, Luke admitted to police that he planned to kill as many Jews as possible at a local synagogue and then kill himself.