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Feds Charge Militia Members Drove To Kenosha 'To Pick People Off'

Feds Charge Militia Members Drove To Kenosha 'To Pick People Off'

Aftermath of last week's riots after the shooting of Jacob Blake shows Car Source's car inventory completely burned on September 1, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Chris Tuite/ImageSPACE/MediaPunch /IPX)

By    |   Friday, 04 September 2020 08:10 PM

Two Missouri militia members drove to Kenosha, Wis., with a cache of guns to steal from businesses and possibly “‘pick people off,'" according to a federal criminal complaint.

The FBI arrested Michael Karmo and Cody Smith at a hotel in Pleasant Prairie, about 7 miles from Kenosha, on Tuesday, the same day Trump visited the area to tour businesses that were damaged amid unrest following the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. 

The agents found an AR-15-style rifle, a shotgun, two handguns, ammunition and other tactical gear, according to a criminal complaint.

Both men had criminal records that meant they could not legally possess firearms, according to federal prosecutors. 

Smith and Karmo, who were roommates, allegedly drove from Hartville, Mo., for Trump's visit and to see the damage in Kenosha. Karmo told investigators they worked together and were part of a Missouri militia. 

According to the criminal complaint, the two men attended a rally for Trump supporters outside a Kenosha high school, leaving two handguns locked in the glove compartment of their vehicle. After the rally, the men went back to their hotel, with plans to return to Kenosha that night, but FBI agents stopped them, the complaint says. 

The FBI was alerted to the men by an Iowa law enforcement agency that passed along a tip from an acquaintance of the men. One message between Karmo and the tipster showed Karmo posing with what appeared to be a rifle and drum-style magazine, the complaint said.

The message to the unidentified tipster read: "This is a game changer,” Fox News reported.

“Karmo told [him] he was going to Kenosha with the intention of possibly using the firearms on people," the complaint said, referring to a witness, Fox News reported. [The witness] "feared that with Karmo’s increase in conspiracy theory talks and other ‘crazy’ political talk he was not in the right mindset to have a firearm.”

Both men are being held in federal custody. Karmo is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Smith faces three charges: aiding and abetting Karmo, possessing a firearm unlawfully and possessing a firearm while using illegal drugs.

Karmo told investigators the men also planned to go to Portland, Oregon, where protests have erupted daily since George Floyd's death in Minneapolis in May .

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Two Missouri militia members drove to Kenosha, Wis., with a cache of guns to steal from businesses and possibly "'pick people off,'" according to a federal criminal complaint.
kenosha, blake, militia members, fbi, black
393
2020-10-04
Friday, 04 September 2020 08:10 PM
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