Minnesota man who idolized Club Q shooter arrested while plotting massacre: feds
A 20-year-old man who once said he was “pro-mass shooting in general,” stockpiled firearms and idolizes the gunman accused of killing five people in a Colorado gay club was arrested in Minnesota, federal authorities said.
River William Smith, of the Minneapolis suburb of Savage, is set to make his first court appearance on Tuesday. He was charged with possessing a machine gun and attempting to purchase “unregistered destructive devices,” in this case hand grenades.
In conversations with an FBI informant, Smith described Anderson Lee Aldrich — the 21-year-old accused of fatally shooting five people at Club Q in Colorado Springs — as a “hero,” according to investigators.
The feds said that Smith also called Black people “agents of Satan” and that he outlined plans to take on police “with armor and full autos.”
Smith said the grenades would be a nice addition to his tactical vest, which included an anti-cop note, according to investigators.
“They can find that once they get me,” he reportedly told the informant in a taped call. “When they’re scooping their boys up.”
A retired police officer working at a gun range tipped off the FBI about Smith on Sept. 27, the Justice Department said. Investigators learned he had access to fully automatic weapons, handguns and body armor.
The FBI informant posed as someone willing to sell grenades to Smith. Officers successfully executed a sting operation and arrested Smith on Wednesday night.
The arrest of Smith stood in stark contrast to how Aldrich’s own behavior was handled. In 2019, Aldrich — who uses they/them pronouns — was accused of kidnapping their grandparents and threatening to blow-up the neighborhood.
The case was eventually dismissed, even though the judge said Aldrich needed medical treatment or “it’s going to be so bad,” according to court transcripts.
Smith was also accused of attacking his grandparents in 2019. Police said that he opened fire with an AK-47-style rifle inside their home and that his grandmother’s hand was wounded.
When authorities investigated that case, they found a massive ammo cache. Officers also searched Smith’s electronics, which included videos of gay people being killed.
As part of a probation agreement, Smith was not allowed to use or possess firearms for two years.
With News Wire Services