A 20-year-old man who once said he was “pro-mass shooting in general,” stockpiled firearms, and idolises the gunman accused of killing five people in a Colorado gay club was arrested in Minnesota, according to federal authorities.
River William Smith, of the Minneapolis suburb of Savage, will appear in court for the first time on Tuesday. He was charged with having a machine gun and attempting to purchase “unregistered destructive devices,” in this case hand grenades.
According to investigators, Smith described Anderson Lee Aldrich, the 21-year-old accused of fatally shooting five people at Colorado Springs’ Club Q, as a “hero” in conversations with an FBI informant.
According to the feds, Smith also referred to Black people as “agents of Satan” and discussed plans to confront police “with armour and full autos.”
According to investigators, Smith stated that the grenades would be a nice addition to his tactical vest, which contained an anti-cop note.
“They can find that once they get me,” he allegedly told the informant in a taped call. “When they’re scooping up their boys.”
On September 27, a retired police officer working at a gun range tipped off the FBI about Smith, according to the Justice Department. Investigators discovered he had access to fully automatic weapons, handguns, and body armour.
The FBI informant pretended to be someone willing to sell grenades to Smith. On Wednesday night, officers successfully conducted a sting operation and arrested Smith.
Smith’s arrest was in stark contrast to how Aldrich’s own behaviour was handled. Aldrich, who uses they/them pronouns, was accused of kidnapping their grandparents and threatening to blow up the neighbourhood in 2019.
The case was eventually dismissed, despite the fact that the judge stated that Aldrich needed medical treatment or “it’s going to be so bad,” according to court transcripts.
Smith was also accused of assaulting his grandparents in 2019. According to police, he opened fire with an AK-47-style rifle inside their home, injuring his grandmother’s hand.
When authorities investigated that case, they discovered a massive ammo cache. Officers also searched Smith’s electronics, which contained videos of gay people being killed.
Smith was prohibited from using or possessing firearms for two years as part of his probation agreement.