A Minnesota man was arrested on gun charges after the FBI discovered evidence that he was plotting a shoot-out with police and had praised mass shooters.
The Department of Justice said in a statement Thursday that the FBI was tipped off in September to “disturbing” behavior of man who was later identified as 20-year-old River William Smith from the city of Savage.
A retired police officer and SWAT commander told police that he saw Smith conduct “rapid reload drills” with tactical gear.
When the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated Smith, it concluded that he was plotting to have a violent exchange with police. Court documents said an informant spoke to Smith at the gun range, and the man allegedly told him he was preparing to fight the police and was “dedicated to dying in the fight.”
He also reportedly explained that he became anti-police when they took away all his guns. The affidavit said that incident unfolded on Dec. 31, 2019 when he fired a weapon and accidentally shot his grandmother in another room of the house. A warrant search discovered numerous weapons, 15 fully loaded magazines, and tactical equipment.
The FBI also said that it found Smith had searched on the internet about Nazis and videos of “homosexuals being killed.”
Smith went on to allegedly say to informants that he was in favor of mass shootings and sympathized with the Parkland shooter as well as the alleged shooter in the Colorado Springs LGTBQ club attack.
“I think he’s a hero,” Smith said, according to investigators.
He was arrested on Wednesday when he tried to purchase from an informant hand grenades and an illegal firearm mechanism that would convert his rifle to a full-automatic machine gun.
Smith was charged with one count of possession of a machine gun and with one count of an attempt to receive and possess destructive devices, which were the grenades.