BLM Shooting Suspect Is Anti-Government Conspiracy Theorist With Pending Gun Charge

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The man accused of shooting two law enforcement members in California, including a Bureau of Land Management ranger, has had at least one previous run-in with law enforcement and has described himself as the target of a massive government conspiracy.

Brent Douglas Cole, 60, was named by the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office on Monday as the suspect in Saturday’s shooting that also left him wounded.

Anna Ferguson, assistant district attorney for Nevada County, confirmed to TPM that Cole was also facing misdemeanor charges in Nevada County Superior Court for allegedly carrying a loaded firearm. He was charged on Jan. 26.

On Tuesday, the Union newspaper in Grass Valley, Calif., published an article that quoted from court documents in the case. The documents showed Cole believed he was the target of a massive conspiracy:

Officers acted without warrant or any probable cause to seize my person using a swat team style assault, and then started looking for something to charge me with. I was attacked and molested, unconstitutionally arrested, unlawfully incarcerated, repeatedly intimidated and coerced to plead guilty to having committed a crime, held in secret for five days, and my property and liberty taken from me since January 26, 2014. I am being persecuted for being a gun owner, and for exercising my inherent Right by unwitting or unknowing accomplices of a seditious conspiracy against rights instituted by foreign powers inimical to the United States of America.

That’s in line with online profiles, reviewed by TPM, that appear to belong to Cole and suggest someone obsessed with multiple conspiracy theories, including 9/11 trutherism, fluoridated water and anti-semitic beliefs.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, in research shared with TPM on Tuesday afternoon, linked Cole to an online profile in which he described himself as “a sovereign American Citizen attempting to thwart the obvious conspiracy and subterfuges of powers inimical to the United States.”

“Sovereigns believe that they — not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes,” the SPLC has written in its summary of sovereign citizen beliefs.

Someone using the name Brent Douglas Cole uploaded Google documents that were purportedly filed in his defense for the January arrest. Those documents have not been independently verified by TPM, but they carry the same case number as the firearms case.

In the documents, Cole described himself as “a statutory Attorney General of the United States” and claimed the California law under which he had been charged violated the Second Amendment. He also spelled his name in a manner typical of members of the sovereign citizens movement, using lowercase letters and unusual punctuation: “brent-douglas: cole.”

A Facebook profile attributed to a Brent Cole, and which also linked to the alleged documents in the firearms case, included this quote from June 5:

“The conviction of police that they are endowed with the authority and authorization to to whatever they wish to do to anyone, without any justification, and incur no liability or culpability for criminal acts committed must end.”

Cole also posted a number of news articles on Facebook sympathetic to the Bundy Ranch militia, including a April 16 post about “an Infowars expose connecting the land grab to Harry Reid and a Chinese-backed solar farm.”

The Bundy Ranch standoff, which involved an anti-government armed militia confronting BLM agents in southern Nevada, and following incidents has forced the federal agency to go on high alert. BLM agents in Utah removed their logos from their vehicles after an armed confrontation last month.

Cole was scheduled to appear before the court again on June 30, according to the court docket.

According to the Union newspaper, the BLM ranger had contacted the California Highway Patrol for assistance in its investigation of vehicles at the Tahoe National Forest. It was during that investigation that the two officers were confronted by Cole and exchanged gunfire. The shooting took place near the South Yuba River campground, according to the sheriff’s office.

The two law enforcement agents suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the incident. Cole suffered multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Union, and was hospitalized as of Monday.

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