DETROIT - Nine suspects tied to a Christian militia that was preparing for the Antichrist were charged with conspiring to kill police officers, then kill scores more by attacking a funeral using homemade bombs, federal prosecutors said yesterday.
The Michigan-based group, called Hutaree, planned to use the attack on police as a catalyst for a larger uprising against the government, according to newly unsealed court papers. U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said agents moved quickly on the group because its members were planning a violent mission in April.
Members of the group, including its leader, David Brian Stone, also known as "Captain Hutaree," were charged following FBI raids over the weekend on locations in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Seven people were arraigned in Detroit Monday, and another one of Stone's sons, Joshua, is being sought.
Stone's ex-wife, Donna Stone, told The Associated Press before the arraignments that her former husband was to blame for pulling her son into the movement. She said David Brian Stone legally adopted her son, David Brian Stone Jr., who is among those indicted.
"It started out as a Christian thing," said Donna Stone, 44. "You go to church. You pray. You take care of your family. I think David started to take it a little too far."
According to the indictment, the group had been meeting and conducting military-style training exercises in the Michigan woods since 2008 to prepare for an impending war with its enemies.
Members practiced building and detonating explosives and shooting firearms and built storage bunkers, investigators said.
The group says on its Web site that Hutaree means "Christian warrior" and describes the word as part of a secret language that few are privileged to know.
The site also features a picture on the site of 17 camouflaged men, all holding large guns, and includes videos of camouflaged men toting guns and running through wooded areas in apparent training exercises. Each wears a patch on his left shoulder that bears a cross and two red spears.
According to investigators, the Hutaree view local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel as a "brotherhood" and an enemy, and planned to attack them as part of an armed struggle against the U.S. government.
The idea of attacking a police funeral was one of numerous scenarios discussed as ways to go after law enforcement officers, the indictment said. Other scenarios included using a fake 911 call to lure an officer to his or her death, killing an officer after a traffic stop or attacking the family of a police officer.
Once other officers gathered for a slain officer's funeral, the group planned to detonate homemade bombs at the funeral, killing scores more, according to the indictment.