Virginia man's 'hit list' had Trump on it
Search warrant shows Alexander Timothy Cross had a history of mental illness and told a federal agent 'I can't say I wouldn't' kill the president.
Hi, and welcome to The Informant, a publication covering hate and extremism in America, written and edited by me, Nick R. Martin.
Within the coming weeks, I’ll be announcing paid subscription plans so that you can support the work of The Informant financially. I’m still working out what that’s going to look like, but I’ll be sharing those details with you soon. Don’t worry; a lot of the journalism I’m doing here will still be available for free. But the subscription model will allow those of you who want to help sustain this important work to do so at a low cost.
In the meantime, there are two ways to show your support. First, click the heart icon at the top of this post to show me that you appreciate the work and want to see more of it. Second, if you haven’t already done so, please sign up for the free newsletter. It’s as easy as typing in your email address.
Virginia man's 'hit list' had Trump on it
HIT LIST… A mentally ill Virginia man who calls himself the “Commander of the Army of the Lord” allegedly drew up a “hit list” of public officials, including President Trump, and managed to purchase a rifle, three pistols and thousands of rounds of ammunition before being arrested.
A search warrant recently unsealed in Virginia federal court shows that Alexander Timothy Cross was initially arrested in September by sheriff’s deputies in Buckingham County, Virginia, and then interviewed a day later in jail by a U.S. Secret Service agent.
During that interview, Cross allegedly described a handwritten list containing the names of numerous public officials that was discovered by investigators as a “hit list.” When asked by the agent whether he wanted to kill Trump, Cross allegedly replied: “I can’t say I wouldn’t.”
According to the search warrant, Cross went on to say that he planned to kill the listed officials at the base of the Washington Monument on his birthday.
There was no mention that the alleged “hit list” had Trump’s name on it when federal authorities eventually brought a case against Cross on charges of illegally possessing firearms after having previously been committed to a mental instituion. Those details only were made public in the search warrant, which was unsealed on January 14 and which I uncovered last week.
Cross has been held behind bars since his arrest. A judge decided during a November hearing that he posed a danger to the community.
Andrea Lantz Harris, the public defender assigned to Cross’ case, declined to comment for this report.
KEY DETAILS: Cross told the Secret Service agent that he purchased his Smith and Wesson rifle and Ruger .380 pistol from a man he met online, according to the search warrant. In addition, he allegedly told the agent he bought a .45 caliber pistol at a yard sale. The documents don’t say where he got a third pistol that investigators found.
TIMING: The case comes at a time when Democratic lawmakers in Virginia are working to pass new gun control measures, including universal background checks and so-called “red flag” laws.
THE LETTER: Cross discussed his mental health problems at length in a letter to prosecutors dated October 20. In it, he said he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder “depending on who you ask.” He said he had been doing well in outpatient treatment and demanded that prosecutors drop the case and give him back his guns. “The best case scenario for every American Citizen and I daresay every person on this planet, would be for you to stand down, drop your charges, and assist me in the restoration of my Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” he wrote. “I will not be satisfied with anything less.”
THE SIGNATURE: Cross signed his letter, “Alex T C, CRITE of Aquariana, Commander of the Army of the Lord.”
SOCIAL MEDIA: The only trace of social media that I was able to find was a LinkedIn profile under the name Alex T Cross. The “about” section of the profile described him this way: “As CRITE of AQUARIANA, I will fulfill the incumbent responsibilities of the Jewish Messiah, Islamic Mahdi and Christian Christ.”
THE PLEA: Cross has pleaded not guilty.
Also on my radar…
— BREAKING… Multiple people were killed in Hanau, Germany, in shootings that are being described by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “far-right extremist, racist” attack. Here’s breaking coverage:
— CANTWELL IN COURT… Christopher Cantwell, better known as the “Crying Nazi,” is set to appear in court this morning in Concord, New Hampshire, for a hearing to determine whether he should be released from jail while he awaits trial. Cantwell has been charged with attempted extortion and sending interstate threats. Journalist and researcher Hilary Sargent posted a heck of a Twitter thread explaining how Cantwell got into trouble. She’s also planning to be in the courtroom to cover today’s hearing, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET.
— AUGUSTUS INVICTUS CATCHES A BREAK… White nationalist Augustus Invictus had a victory in court in South Carolina on Wednesday when a judge threw out a kidnapping charge against him. Invictus is still charged with domestic violence and using a gun in commission of a crime after his wife, Anna Invictus, accused him of physically abusing her at gunpoint and then forcing her and her children to travel with him to Florida. The judge’s decision came just five days after he ordered Augustus Invictus to be held behind bars without bail while awaiting trial. Andrew Dys of the Rock Hill Herald has a full report on Wednesday’s court hearing.
— A MUST READ… “This Obscure Foundation Helped Fund The Alt-Right,” by Sarah Jones at New York Magazine: “A closer look at the financial records of the Robert P. Rotella Foundation, which he manages alongside his sister, Rosemarie, reveals that he isn’t just interested in right-to-work laws or free enterprise. He’s also a significant funder of white nationalism.”
— THE BASE IN COURT… Court records show that Brian Lemley Jr., Patrik Mathews, and William Bilbrough IV all pleaded not guilty to federal charges in Maryland on Tuesday. The three are members of the neo-Nazi group The Base, which promotes terror attacks and mass shootings to bring about the collapse of modern civilization. The CBC has more details from court.
— NEW HALF-HOUR DOCUMENTARY… “Anatomy of Hate: It was a triple-murder fueled by rage — but was it a hate crime?”
— UGLY SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS… “Indiana official ‘sorry’ for Islamophobic posts won’t resign”
Help make The Informant even better. Give me feedback, point out factual errors or typos, or send me news tips. Reach me at email@example.com.