Heartland terror

The FBI said Timothy Wilson planned to blow up a hospital in Missouri. Before that, he was active in online chats for two neo-Nazi groups.

Hi, and welcome to The Informant, a publication covering hate and extremism in America, written and edited by me, Nick R. Martin.

This was a breaking news article that was originally published at 9:56 p.m. ET on March 25. It was updated with more details at 2:06 a.m. ET on March 26.

Please subscribe to the newsletter to support independent journalism about these important topics.


Heartland terror

A Missouri man who died in a confrontation with the FBI on Tuesday and who authorities said was in the final stages of a plot to blow up a hospital caring for coronavirus patients was an admirer of the 1980s terrorist group The Order and had ties to two active neo-Nazi organizations, The Informant has learned.

Timothy Wilson, 36, died as the FBI moved in to arrest him in Belton, Missouri, a suburb south of Kansas City. It’s unclear whether he was killed by FBI agents or committed suicide. In a news release, the FBI said only that he was “injured and was transported to an area hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.”

Wilson was planning to use a vehicle bomb to blow up a local hospital, according to the FBI. He arrived in Belton on Tuesday to pick up what he believed was the bomb, but the bureau said it was all part of a ruse. “There was no actual bomb,” the FBI said in its news release.

Authorities said Wilson was the subject of a domestic terrorism investigation for months, and that he was motivated “by racial, religious, and anti-government animus.” They said he looked at multiple potential targets but decided on the hospital once the coronavirus outbreak hit. They did not disclose which hospital he wanted to target.

Wilson was active on the encrypted social messaging platform Telegram under the name “Werwolfe 84,” according to a source.

Using that information and with the help of Elon University computer science professor Megan Squire, The Informant was able to determine on Wednesday that Wilson was active in public Telegram channels for two neo-Nazi groups: the National Socialist Movement (NSM) and Vorherrschaft Division (VSD).

The NSM is a decades-old neo-Nazi organization with a history of violence. One of its longtime members, JT Ready, killed four people before killing himself in 2012 in Arizona. The group was also involved in the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is facing a federal lawsuit for its role in the melee.

The NSM is also known for holding a rally each April to celebrate the birth of Adolf Hitler — an event that often includes displays of swastikas and racist speeches by its leaders. This year, its annual rally is scheduled for April 18 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

VSD, meanwhile, is a newer group molded in the image of Atomwaffen Division, an organization that urges members to engage in mass shootings or terror attacks to help bring about the collapse of modern civilization. Posters displaying the name of VSD were used to vandalize a Michigan synagogue in October.

Wilson was listed as one of the administrators of the public Telegram chat for the NSM and was active there as recently as Tuesday afternoon. He wrote at the time that he believed the COVID-19 pandemic was being used by the government as an “excuse to destroy our people.”

“Mark my words it’s coming I hope people are ready,” he wrote.

The day prior, he used antisemitic language to comment about an article on the coronavirus outbreak.

“If you don’t think this whole thing was engineered by Jews as a power grab here is more proof of their plans,” Wilson wrote. “Jews have been playing the long game we are the only ones standing in their way.”

Wilson’s writings in both the NSM and VSD channels showed he was an admirer of the neo-Nazi terrorist group The Order, which was active from 1983 to 1984 and carried out armored car robberies and a murder.

Wilson referred to Robert Mathews, the leader of The Order, as “Uncle Bob.” Mathews was killed in a shootout with federal authorities in 1984.

In January, Wilson posted a photo of several members of The Order in the Telegram channel for VSD and added a caption: “Remember our heroes.”

Then on Sunday, Wilson posted a photo of Mathews in the NSM channel.

“Don’t be the cuck that gives up without a fight,” Wilson wrote. “Make uncle bob proud.”

Similarly, on March 1, Wilson criticized other neo-Nazi groups like Atomwaffen and The Base because some of their members had been arrested without violence.

“If they were serious they would have pulled a Robert J Matthews (sic) and used all those weapons they were stashing to unleash hell on the feds,” he wrote.


Like The Informant and want to help make it even better? Give me feedback, point out factual errors or typos, or send me news tips. Reach me at nick@informant.news.