WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas militia member started trying to recruit other members to kill Muslim immigrants after the 2016 attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, an FBI informant testified Thursday.
Patrick Day told jurors that Patrick Stein called him a couple of days after the attack in which a man who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group killed 49 people in the Florida attack. He said Stein told him he was “ready to take action” against Muslims and wanted to see who else in the militia group was with him and who wasn’t.
“They were outraged that a Muslim was killing all these Americans,” Day said. “I was outraged too.”
As a precaution in case they were being monitored by law enforcement, Stein held the first recruitment meeting in a shack on the property of another member of the Kansas Security Force, Day said. That June 2016 meeting was the first one Day recorded as an FBI informant.
Day, who was given the code name “Minuteman” by his FBI handlers, said that as he and Stein drove to that meeting, he worried that others might know he was working with the FBI and that his life could be in danger because there was nobody nearby who could help him.
Prosecutors say that over the next five months, Day gave the FBI secret recordings of other meetings and conversations in which a plot formed to bomb a mosque and an apartment complex where Somali immigrants lived in the meatpacking community of Garden City, which is about 340 miles (550 kilometers) west of Kansas City. They say the defendants planned to carry out the attack right after the 2016 presidential election and hoped it would inspire attacks on Muslims throughout the country.
Stein and two other militia members, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen, were arrested in October 2016. They have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights. Stein also faces two additional weapons-related charges and Wright faces a charge of lying to the FBI.
Day testified that Stein and Allen held two more meetings to try to recruit other members to their plot. He said Stein called himself “Orkin man,” a reference to the pest control chain, because he wanted to exterminate the Somalis, whom he referred to as “cockroaches.”
Day recounted one recruitment meeting in the living room of a militia member’s house in Lakin, Kansas, during which the homeowner, Trish Burch, adamantly refused to join them, arguing that militias are only for defensive actions.
Prosecutors played a recording for jurors in which Stein could be heard saying “better not be a f—— word said nowhere by nobody.” Day said he understood that to mean the lives of the two people who had refused to join would be in danger if they talked to anybody. Those who did not join them were not given any details of the plot.