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Entries in Sovereign Citizens (2)

Thursday
Aug232012

Two Charged with Murder in Shooting of Two Louisiana Deputies

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LAPLACE, La.) -- Two men believed to belong to a right-wing separatist group have been charged in the shooting deaths of two Louisiana deputies during a bloody shootout in a trailer park on Aug. 16.

Brian Lyn Smith, 24, and Kyle David Joekel, 28, have each been charged with two counts of first-degree murder of a police officer and three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.

Both men were recently released from the hospital, where they'd been recovering from injuries sustained in the shootout.

Another suspect, Brittney Keith, has been charged with two counts of principal- to first-degree murder of a police officer.

Four other suspects involved in the shooting are in jail on lesser charges.

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Deputies Brandon Neilsen, 34, and Jeremy Triche, 28, were "ambushed" by the men inside a trailer home near LaPlace, La., outside New Orleans early last Thursday morning.

One of the two suspects charged with murder exited the back of the trailer home with an assault-style weapon, killing the police officers, said St. John the Baptist Sheriff Mike Tregre.

The deputies went to the trailer park in pursuit of suspects from an earlier shootout in which two other deputies, Michael Scott Boyington and Jason Triche, had been wounded. Those deputies had been on an overnight traffic detail duty near the parking lot of an oil refinery.

Smith and Joekel are believed to be members of the Sovereign Citizens movement, according to police, a loosely knit right-wing organization that does not acknowledge the sovereignty of the federal government.

"Because they believe in particular law enforcement is not legitimate, they can be quite violent. Since 2000, they have linked at [least] six law enforcement deaths to sovereign citizens," said Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and ABC News consultant.

Still recovering from their injuries, Smith and Joekel have yet to appear in court or enter pleas.

A funeral for Deputy Brandon Neilsen was held Wednesday.

"Our prayers are with the families of the fallen and injured deputies, the sheriff's office, and all of our greater law enforcement family. State Police is committed to diligent, thorough and complete investigation of these horrific acts. We will continue to leverage our resources in this investigation to ensure that the facts are presented and those responsible for these heinous crimes are arrested," said State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson in a statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Alleged Lousiana Cop Shooters Linked to Sovereign Citizens Movement

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- At least several of the seven suspects arrested in connection with the ambushing and killing of two Louisana deputies and the wounding of two others have been linked to the sovereign citizen movement, officials said on Sunday.

The suspects were arrested after a shootout early Thursday morning at a trailer park outside New Orleans, where the two deputies were killed.  The two had gone to the trailer park in pursuit of suspects from an earlier incident in which two other deputies were shot and wounded.

The gunmen first opened fire on deputies patrolling a parking lot near a steel plant and oil refinery in LaPlace, La., around 5 a.m. CT., according to St. John the Baptist Sheriff Mike Tregre.

Deputies Brandon Brandon Neilsen, 34, and Jeremy Triche, 28, were "ambushed" by at least three men inside a trailer home, one of whom exited the back of the home with an assault-style weapon.

That gunman "ambushed my two officers," Tregre said.

More than 20 shots were fired between the two locations, from multiple weapons, suggesting a large-scale and sustained shootout.

Sovereign citizens believe any form of government is illegitimate and the only law is the one they create, said Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and ABC News consultant.

"Because they believe in particular law enforcement is not legitimate, they can be quite violent.  Since 2000, they have linked at [least] six law enforcement deaths to sovereign citizens," Garrett said.

The seven were all charged in connection with the shooting of one of the deputies who was wounded, as investigators attempt to determine exactly what happened last Thursday.

The sovereign citizens movement has been labeled a domestic terrorism organization by the FBI.

"The FBI are very concerned about them, both from a violent standpoint and also from a white collar crime standpoint," Garrett said.

The sovereign citizen movement has its roots in right-wing anarchist ideology that originated with a group called the Posse Comitatus in the 1970s, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Along with violence, the ADL said members of the sovereign citizen movement have been known to enage in "paper terrorism," using "fraudulent legal documents and filings, as well as the misuse of legitimate documents and filings, in order to intimidate, harass and coerce public officials, law enforcement officers and private citizens."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio