Extremist sentenced to 50 years in prison after trying to murder a cop, planning to decapitate officers

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NEW BOSTON, TX– On Friday, September 17th, A Texas man who is linked to the “boogaloo” movement was sentenced to 50 years in prison, the day after being found guilty of attempted murder of a peace officer.

The man, Aaron Caleb Swenson live-streamed threats to kill police and record it, according to reports. 

According to ADL, the boogaloo movement is an anti-governmental extremist movement that formed in 2019. In 2020, boogalooers increasingly engaged in real world activities as well as online activities, showing up at protests and rallies around gun rights, pandemic restrictions and police-related killings.

The boogalooers’ anti-police beliefs prompted them to participate widely in the Black Lives Matters protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May 2020.

On Thursday, September 16th, a jury in Bowie County found 38-year-old Swenson guilty of attempted capital murder of a peace officer and found that he’d violated the Texas Hate Crimes Act, the Texarkana Gazette reported.

One day prior, on Wednesday, Swenson plead guilty to terroristic threatening and evading arrest shortly before testimony began in front of the judge. 

The Associated Press reported that on Friday, the jury sentenced him to 50 years in prison for attempted murder, 20 years for terroristic threatening with a hate crime enhancement and ten years for evading arrest. Prosecutor Kelly Crisp said the terms will run concurrently.

Swenson will also have to pay $30,000 after the jury imposed maximum fines on each of the three charges.

During his testimony, Swenson admitted that he had intended to carry out suicide by cop in April 2020 when he made threats via Facebook Live. While live streaming, Swenson said he was searching for a police officer to kill while driving in Texarkana, Texas. Swenson claimed that he never had intentions of actually hurting anyone.

According to reports, local 911 dispatchers received multiple calls alerting police to the live stream which took place April 11. Officers searching for Swenson could hear him say he was looking for “red and blue lights” and that he spoke of “finding his prey” as he passed a patrol car on an Interstate 30 access road.

An officer watching the live feed quickly identified the possible make and model of a late Chevy or GMC pickup by the appearance of an image of the vehicle’s dashboard on the Facebook Live stream.

As Texarkana, Texas, police closed in, Swenson allegedly led them on a high-speed chase. A spike strip was used on Leary Road to deflate one of Swenson’s tires but he allegedly continued driving west on U.S. Highway 82 for several miles before finally coming to a stop and placing his hands on the roof of his truck, according to reports.

Texarkana Police Officer Jonathan Price testified that he was parked on a city street when he heard Swenson say he had “found his prey” and was turning his vehicle around.

Officer Price said:

“I realized he was talking about me,” 

He added:

“I put the car in drive and took off. I didn’t want to get ambushed by myself.”

Texarkana, Texas, Crime Scene Analyst Spencer Price testified about the two pistols, 12-gauge shotgun, handmade sword and 156 rounds of ammunition found in Swenson’s truck, The Associated Press reported.

Homeland Security Special Agent Gregory Harry testified that Swenson’s plan was to shoot a police officer and then decapitate the officer with a sword.

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Hate crime? Texas man with history of domestic violence kills woman then self in hotel lobby

September 17, 2021

HOUSTON, TX – A 27-year-old woman was gunned down by a 39-year-old man before he took his own life late Tuesday afternoon in a tragic murder-suicide in the Marriott Marquis in downtown Houston.

https://twitter.com/sylc5star/status/1437758977346048006

The couple arrived in the hotel lobby carrying luggage and appeared to be intent on checking into the hotel together, according to police.

Police said the couple arrived in the hotel lobby carrying luggage and appeared to be intent on checking into the hotel. Guests said the couple began arguing in the lobby and shots rang out.

Police said Jenna Soferberg was shot and killed by Sherrick Byrd before turning the gun on himself.

At a press conference after the shooting, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the crime did not appear random :

“The gentleman did come in at some point … shot the female and then immediately shot himself.”

“We do not think this is a random event or incident. We do believe–and we have reason to believe that there’s some type of relationship.

“Investigation is going to determine exactly what relationship it is. But, as I always say, this is tragic. We’ve got, apparently, two families affected here. It is a murder-suicide. The gentleman did come in at some point, shot the female, and then immediately shot himself.”

Chief Finner said the investigation would be completed rapidly:

“I want to pray for the victims, but also it’s on us as a police department, as the City of Houston and as businesses to get it back up and running. Doing an investigation– doing a complete investigation–getting this business up and running. They are still accepting guests.”

Court documents tell the story of a couple in a stormy relationship involving domestic violence and abuse.

Travis County court records show that Soferberg was brutally attacked by Byrd on June 13, 2018. Documents described the attack, saying police arrived and found her with both her eyes swollen shut, blood coming from a deep cut on her head, and bruises all over her body.

The victim reached out for help in 2019 after Byrd assaulted her outside an Austin Burger King. She escaped by locking herself in a restroom. He left only after employees threatened to call police.

One week after the assault, she filed for a protection order against Byrd. In court filings, she wrote about the Burger King assault and another assault in 2018:

“I want this protective order because I am afraid for my safety when Sherrick is around.

“The incident on July 4, 2019, showed me that Sherrick is erratic and aggressive, and I am afraid of future violence. I am scared of what could happen if Sherrick is allowed to be around me and I want this protective order to keep me safe.”

Tragically, the protection order was dismissed when the court could not find Byrd to serve him.

According to KHOU News, DPS records show he pleaded guilty to a lesser domestic violence charge in Travis County and was sentenced to 112 days in jail in May 2021.

In 2009, Byrd was convicted of the same charge in Denton County and served about six months in jail.

At some point, Soferberg moved to Atlanta. What remains unclear is why she returned to Houston.

What is clear is that she and Byrd arrived at the hotel in a separate car but were seen arguing in the lobby of the hotel moments before the shooting.

Houston police release multiple body cam videos of deadly officer-involved shooting of armed gunman

June 4, 2021

 

HOUSTON, TX – Houston police have released multiple body camera videos of a deadly officer-involved shooting that occurred on May 21 in the city.

At about 1:30 a.m., an officer observed two vehicles speeding and heading south on Gessner Road. The officer followed the vehicles, getting behind a green pickup truck. Officers initiated at traffic stop with the truck along Bissonnet Street.

The officers made contacted with the man and woman inside the truck. The occupants stated that they were speeding to escape the scene of a shooting, where they said a vehicle was firing on another vehicle.

As the officers spoke with the occupants of the truck, a black male walked toward the position from a Shell gas station across the street. The male was later identified as 20-year-old Zaekwon Gullate.

One of the officers, Sgt. Ricardo Rivera walked toward Gullate asking if he needed anything and if he knew the occupants of the truck.

Video from Sgt. Rivera’s body camera show the man continue to walk toward him with his hands in his pockets. Gullate tells the officer, “Shoot me.”

The Sergeant drew his firearm and commanded that Gullate show his hands twice. The officer then asks what is in his hand. Gullate drew a firearm and Gullate ordered him, “Bro, put the gun down.”

 

Other officers on the scene then turn their attention to Gullate and also begin telling him to drop his gun.

Gullate pointed the gun at officers and fired at them. Rivera and three other officers returned fire striking Gullate.

After Gullate drops to the ground, Sgt. Rivera immediately asks if the occupants of the truck were alright, which they apparently were.

Officers began checking each other to determine if they were hit by Gullate’s shot while Sgt. Rivera maintained cover on the suspect. The sergeant also called for EMS over the radio.

Officers cautiously approached Gullate and secured the firearm. They then began providing medical aid until EMS arrived. Gullate was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The body camera video also included the view from other officers, identified as Officer McLemore, Officer Smajstrila, and Officer Alfaro.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the videos were released within 30 days of the shooting following recommendations from a city task force tasked with making reforms following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

During a news conference held to announce the release of the video, Chief Finner said:

“When there is an officer-involved shooting it’s so tragic for everybody involved, regardless of what happened, so look at it objectively and make sure we have healing in our community and make sure people come to the truth and because different people carry different narratives, that causes problems, that’s what frustrates me.”

“But every person has the right to think what they want to, but we’re going to do the right thing in Houston upon the mayor’s leadership, releasing this and we’ve been saying this and today, it’s here.” 

 

 

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