‘Boogaloo’ backer arrested, faces federal charges in Detroit

Timothy Teagan, a member of the Boogaloo Bois movement, stands with his rifle outside the state capitol in Lansing, Mich., Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Teagan who has described himself as a backer of the anti-government, pro-gun extremist movement called the boogaloo has been arrested by the FBI in Detroit. Teagan was expected to appear Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in federal court when charges will be unsealed, said FBI spokeswoman Mara Schneider. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File )

DETROIT (AP) — The FBI has arrested two alleged members of the far-right anti-government group the Boogaloo Boys, with authorities increasingly concerned about the potential for violence in the leadup to next week’s midterm elections.

Timothy Teagan is expected to appear later Wednesday in federal court in Detroit, where the charges against him will be unsealed, FBI spokeswoman Mara Schneider said.

Meanwhile, the FBI said in a criminal complaint filed Monday that there was enough evidence to charge Aron McKillips, of Sandusky, Ohio, with illegal possession of a machine gun and the interstate communication of threats. It said McKillips is a member of the Boogaloo Boys and is believed to be in a militia group called the Sons of Liberty.

McKillips’ lawyer, Neil McElroy, said via email Wednesday that McKillips was taken into custody and that he has asked for McKillips to be released pending a Nov. 9 detention hearing in Toledo, Ohio.

Teagan’s arrest Tuesday came a week before the midterm elections. Election workers have increasingly been targeted by threats and harassment since the 2020 election, and it’s only gotten worse in recent weeks, with federal authorities having charged at least five people already. Nationally, elections officials are concerned about a flood of conspiracy theorists signing up to work as poll watchers, with some groups that have trafficked in lies about the 2020 election recruiting and training watchers.

Teagan was among a dozen or so people who openly carried guns while demonstrating in January 2021 outside of the Michigan Capitol in Lansing. Some promoted the “boogaloo” movement, a slang term that refers to a second U.S. civil war.

Teagan told reporters then that the purpose of the demonstration was “to urge a message of peace and unity to the left and right, to the members of BLM, to Trump supporters to Three Percenter militias to antifa.” BLM refers to Black Lives Matter.

Some boogaloo promoters insist they aren’t genuinely advocating for violence. But the movement has been linked to a string of domestic terrorism plots. The Department of Homeland Security has warned of potential domestic terrorism threats posed by boogaloo supporters.

In the criminal complaint against McKillips, the FBI alleges that he made multiple online threats, including one to kill a police officer and another to kill anyone he determined to be a federal informant.

The FBI contends that McKillips provided other members of the Boogaloo Boys equipment to convert rifles into machine guns, as on a trip to Lansing, Michigan, in April 2021. “I literally handed out machine guns in Michigan,” McKillips said in a recording, the complaint states.

In September 2021, he said in a private chat group, “Ain’t Got a federal badge off a corpse yet, so my time here ain’t near done yet lol,” according to the complaint.

In May of this year, McKillips and another user in the Signal messaging system threatened to kill a different Signal user in the belief the person was an informant who worked for the FBI or ATF, the complaint says. And in July, McKillips threatened in a Signal chat group that he would “smoke a hog,” meaning kill a police officer, if conditions worsened following a fatal police shooting in Akron in July, it says.

McKillips frequently advocated violence against police officers, federal agents and government buildings, big box stores like Walmart and Target, and even threatened to blow up Facebook’s headquarters, the criminal complaint says.

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Welsh-Huggins reported from Columbus, Ohio.