The FBI has charged a 26-year-old Missouri man with terrorism
after agents say he attempted to derail an
Amtrak train in Nebraska by triggering the train’s
Taylor M. Wilson of St. Charles, Missouri, had previously
traveled with members of a neo-Nazi group to the white
nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and expressed
an interest in “killing black people,” according to court
documents unsealed Wednesday.
After Wilson was arrested for triggering the train’s brakes in
October, FBI agents found weapons, tactical gear and white
supremacist documents at his home. Some items were in a hidden
compartment behind a refrigerator, according to the court
FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski said that Wilson, who has a
concealed carry permit, boarded the train intending to
carry out a terrorist attack and pulled the emergency brake
“with intent to harm those aboard” on Oct. 22, according to the
Czaplewski also said he believed Wilson’s firearms “have been
used for or obtained in anticipation of engaging in or planning
to engage in criminal offenses against the United States.”
There were about 175 people aboard
the train from California to Missouri when Wilson triggered the
brakes, The Associated Press reported in October.
The FBI is accusing Taylor Michael Wilson, 26, of attempting
to derail an Amtrak train as an act of terrorism. (Joe Raedle
via Getty Images)
In the early hours of Oct. 22, Wilson entered a restricted
area of the California Zephyr train as it passed through rural
Nebraska and triggered the train’s emergency brakes.
After the train came to an “expedited stop,” Amtrak workers
found Wilson “playing with the controls” while sitting in the
engineer’s seat of an engine, according to the affidavit. A
struggle broke out as train employees tried to subdue Wilson,
who reached toward his waistband several times during the
Deputies later found a loaded handgun in Wilson’s waistband
along with a speed loader, a device that allows rapid reloading
of a weapon. Wilson also had three additional speed loaders, a
box of ammunition, a hammer, a knife and a respirator-style
mask in a backpack.
Deputies also found that a business card for the National
Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group, on Wilson.
In an interview with the FBI, Wilson’s cousin Andrew Olney said
that Wilson had joined an ”‘alt right’ neo-Nazi group” that he
found while researching white supremacy forums on the internet,
according to the affidavit. Olney, who lived with Wilson for at
least four months, also told the FBI that Wilson attended the
white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August with
friends from the neo-Nazi group.
Olney said “he knew a lot of the guys took guns with them [to
the Charlottesville rally], but he did not know for certain if
Wilson took anything other than a shield and bulletproof vest,”
the affidavit read. Wilson regularly carried a “9 millimeter
handgun or a .38 caliber revolver,” according to Olney.
After a search warrant was issued in December, St. Louis FBI
agents discovered firearms, body armor, “records of
communication of threats or detailing instructions pertaining
to committing acts of violence against others” and “documents
concerning white supremacy.”
The weapons found in the compartment behind a refrigerator
included 11 AR-15 rifle ammunition magazines with 190 rounds of
ammunition, one drum-style ammunition magazine for a rifle, 100
rounds of 9mm ammunition, white supremacy paperwork and a
handmade shield, which Czaplewski believes was taken to the
Wilson’s father later gave the FBI 15 of Wilson’s firearms.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
determined that at least one weapon was an automatic rifle
and another was converted to a short rifle, “both in possible
violation of federal firearm laws.”
Wilson was arrested in
October on suspicion of felony criminal mischief, trespassing
and weapon charges. On Dec. 11, Wilson’s $100,000 bond was
posted and he was released.
Bobbie Garris, a passenger on the California Zephyr, told
Nebraska ABC news affiliate NTV that passengers sat in the dark for
over an hour after the train came to an abrupt stop.
“We lunged forward in our seats and all the power went out,”
Garris told NTV at the time. “We could smell something
burning, and I’m going to guess that was the brakes.”
Wilson was arrested again Dec.
23, one day after the complaint was filed in a federal
court in Nebraska, and is under federal
custody, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
- This article originally appeared on