FBI agents attempted to arrest a suspected terrorist on Tuesday, saying he was plotting to bomb a hospital amid the coronavirus outbreak. The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Timothy Wilson, was injured in a shootout in a Kansas City suburb when agents tried to arrest him. He died later in the hospital.
According to the Kansas City FBI, Wilson had “decided to accelerate his plan,” leading agents to attempt the arrest, Fox News reported. The suspect was reportedly armed at the time.
A months-long investigation determined Wilson was a potentially violent extremist, motivated by religious, racial, and anti-government beliefs, the FBI statement said.
An FBI alert warned that the suspect “espoused white supremacist ideology” and “made a threat that if any agent attempted to [search his property] they should ‘bring a lot of body bags,'” ABC News reported. The alert noted that Wilson had “shared instructions on how to make an [improvised explosive device] with another … Domestic Terrorism (DT) subject” near Kansas City.
ABC News shared a Facebook photo of Wilson, linking him to a specific profile. The outlet also identified the other domestic terrorism “suspect” as Jarrett Smith, who was arrested in September 2019 while stationed at Ft. Rile, Kansas, as an active member of the U.S. Army. “Smith allegedly planned to travel to Ukraine to fight with the violent far-right group Azov Battalion; suggested targeting then-Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke; proposed bombing the headquarters of a still-unidentified news network; and distributed bomb-making tips online.”
Smith pleaded guilty to federal charges of distributing information that relates to weapons of mass destruction. He is awaiting sentencing.
Sources familiar with the matter told ABC News that Wilson had been on the FBI’s radar for more than a year. They also indicated that the FBI’s probe of Smith led them to Wilson months before he allegedly decided to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis.
The state of Missouri has reported 550 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Thursday, and the Kansas City Health Department reported 58 confirmed cases.
It is heartening to hear that law enforcement may have prevented a terrorist attack on a hospital during the coronavirus crisis. Thank God for the FBI.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.