Taylor Michael Wilson, a Missouri man facing federal charges for attempting to derail an Amtrak train last fall, has ties to neo-Nazi groups and had previously expressed interest in “killing black people,” according to court documents unsealed this week. The documents also say Wilson’s cousin told the FBI that Wilson attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last August.
Wilson, 26, was charged in U.S. District Court in Lincoln, Nebraska with an attempt to commit terror against mass transit systems by targeting a train traveling through a rural corner of the state in late October 2017.
According to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski, based on interviews with Wilson’s relatives and material obtained from search warrants, Wilson was carrying business cards for two white identity organizations, as well as several weapons, at the time of his arrest.
Wilson’s cousin and former roommate, Andrew Olney, told the FBI that Wilson joined an “‘alt-right’ Neo-Nazi group” that he’d “found researching white supremacy forums on-line,” according to the affidavit. Olney, who lived with Wilson from June to Oct. 2017, said that his cousin traveled to the August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville with members of that unspecified neo-Nazi group, and had expressed an interest in “killing black people,” particularly those involved in the mass anti-police brutality protests in St. Louis.
The FBI searched the cousins’ residence in December after Olney told the FBI that Wilson maintained a large trove of weapons in a hidden compartment behind the refrigerator. They uncovered a tactical vest, 11 AR-15 magazines, “white supremacy documents and paperwork”, a number of handguns, a shield, and a pressure plate, which is commonly used to build Improvised Explosive Devices, according to court documents.
On Oct. 22, 2017, Wilson was headed to his home in St. Charles, Missouri on Amtrak’s California Zypher train when he entered a restricted area and triggered the emergency break, bringing it to an abrupt halt, according to the affidavit. Law enforcement officials called to the scene discovered Wilson in an erratic state, alternately mocking train staffers and threatening them with violence. They found a fully loaded 38-caliber handgun in his front waistband and a fully loaded speedloader in his pocket, in addition to a backpack containing three additional loaded speedloaders, a box of ammunition, a hammer, a knife, wire cutters, and a respirator-style mask, according to the affidavit.
Wilson’s wallet also contained several business cards: one for the National Socialist Movement (NSM), one of the nation’s largest neo-Nazi organizations, and another for Covenant Nation Church, which adheres to the Christian Identity ideology popular in extreme-right circles.
Reached by TPM via phone on Friday, NSM Chief of Staff Butch Urban said Wilson had no formal connection with the group, which has its roots in the original American Nazi Party. Urban said the group maintains internal lists of official members, who must go through background checks and pay dues.
A phone number listed for William Davidson, the Alabama-based preacher listed on the Covenant Nation Church business card, was disconnected. Davidson told FBI agents in an interview that his church is part of the Christian Identity movement and believes that “white people are part of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel,” according to the affidavit.
The Anti-Defamation League describes the Christian Identity movement’s ideology as characterized by “virulent racist and anti-Semitic beliefs” as well as “extreme anti-government sentiments,” noting that its adherents have engaged in “criminal behavior ranging from hate crimes to acts of terrorism.”
FBI agents investigating Wilson in the weeks after his arrest found a wealth of other material confirming his white nationalist and extremist beliefs.
His cell phone featured a white supremacist banner that read “‘Hands up don’t shoot’ is Anti-white fake news — Altright,’” according to the affidavit. It also contained copies of several books providing detailed instructions on how to construct explosives, including “The Anarchist Cookbook” and Kurt Saxon’s “Poor Man’s James Bond Volume 5.”
Though Wilson’s father, Michael D. Wilson, initially denied even knowing the exact location of his son’s home, he eventually turned over some 15 firearms and tactical body armor belonging to his son over to the FBI, per the affidavit.
TPM left a message at the phone number listed for Wilson’s parents’ St. Charles address.
Wilson, who also faces state charges in Nebraska, is currently in federal custody. No name is listed for his attorney in the state case, but a competency evaluation requested by that attorney deemed Wilson capable of facing the charges against him.
Read the full criminal complaint below.