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Sovereign Citizens Linked To La. Deputy Killings

August 20, 2012  | 

Terry Smith. Photo via Louisiana State Police.
Terry Smith. Photo via Louisiana State Police.

Authorities are now investigating whether the suspects arrested in the shootings of four Louisiana deputies have ties to extremist, anti-federal government groups.

A Tennessee sheriff's detective investigating Terry Smith, 44, told the Times-Picayune she believes Smith is a member of a sovereign citizen group. Detective Sgt. Angela Looney of the Robertson County (Tenn.) Sheriff's Office was investigating Smith in connection with a child molestation case.

Authorities have also linked Kyle David Joekel to Posse Comitatus, a loose affiliation of right-wing groups that oppose the federal government and believe the sheriff is the highest authority.

Smith and Joekel are among the seven people facing charges in connection with two Thursday shootings of four St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's deputies. Others facing charges include Smith's wife Chanel Skains; two sons Derrick and Brian; Teniecha Bright, who was living with Joekel; and Britney Keith, Brian Smith's girlfriend.

Dep. Michael Boyington was shot while working an off-duty security detail at a remote parking lot of the Valero refinery in LaPlace. Three deputies were ambushed after they tracked a vehicle fleeing the scene to a mobile home park. Authorities have since placed all three Smiths, Joekel, and Bright in that car.

DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle told the Los Angeles Times his deputies had been conducting surveillance on several of the suspects for more than two months and considered them armed and dangerous.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive in the case, Louisiana State Police Sgt. Len Marie told POLICE Magazine.

"At this point, we still don't know the motive," Sgt. Marie said. "That's what our investigators are working hard to find out."

By Paul Clinton


7 Charged In Shootings of Deputies

Two Deputies Killed, Two Wounded In La. Ambushes

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

S.S @ 8/21/2012 6:34 AM

These groups are starting to pop up more and more. We as law enforcement need to be more vigilant than ever. You can tell these groups even by the license plates that they have on their vehicles, and even bumper stickers. I don't have photos of these items, but some of these people proudly show that they are anti-government and make no effort to try to hide it. Watch your backs.

michael @ 8/21/2012 3:29 PM

I agree with you S.S and we have seen a lot more activity on the West Coast with these radical groups (gangs) and with times getting harder I think we will see more of this. They are training to assassinate LEO's and to gather intelligence to use against us. They are anti-government and a threat to our state of security, safety and our way of life. I am sorry to see these LEO's get killed and injured. We as LEO need to be more aware of these groups and utilize our training/tactics at all times. God Bless All.

Bill Nelson @ 8/21/2012 5:47 PM

Let's be honest here and admit that some members of Law Enforcement belong to some of these groups. In rural America it is normal for everybody to know everybody and have family in Law Enforcement. I think these type of groups started forming in the late 80's and early 90's. The Ruby Ridge incident and Waco is what seemed to really set the militia off.

d @ 10/2/2012 4:12 PM

Z @ 3/18/2016 7:26 AM

The only thing I disagree with is " they believe the Sheriff is the highest authority. ". That not a " they believe ". That's reality. Sheriff is the only elected, " law enforcement " and is the highest authority.

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