Scottsdale Police Officer James Peters, a former SWAT operative previously involved in six fatal officer-involved shootings, killed John Loxas II Tuesday night (February 14) while the 50-year-old grandfather was holding a baby.
Although police “could see that the suspect had the baby in his arms” just before Peters fired the fatal shot, Loxas was unarmed, according to a Scripps wire service account. “After several calls for Loxas to exit the home, he opened the door with the baby in his left hand, and stood just inside the doorway…. Officers then saw Loxas reach down to his right, lowering the baby and exposing his head and upper body. Peters then responded to the movement with a single shot to Loxas’ head.”
Two years ago, Loxas was arrested following a report that he had been seen “yelling and walking around with a handgun.” Although officers described Loxas as “drunk” and “threatening his neighbors with a pistol,” he was not charged with aggravated assault — as Arizona statutes would dictate — but for the trivial offense of “disorderly conduct.”
Tuesday’s episode was quite similar: The police were summoned by a report that he had kicked a neighbor’s garbage can into the street while he was on a walk with his nine-month-old grandson. When police arrived they found him outside his home. Ordered to “step away” from the house, Loxas retreated inside. Without any evidence that Loxas intended to harm the child, the officers created a “crisis entry team” — that is, they escalated the conflict by imposing a military protocol that led to the summary execution of a man who wasn’t suspected of a violent crime.
That decision might have been prompted by the fact that Loxas — in addition to having a turbulent relationship with his neighbors — was an outspoken political dissident who briefly considered running for President.
“A REVOLUTION IS COMING,” Loxas wrote in a March 2011 Facebook entry. “THE WORLD IS ABOUT TO CHANGE. The question is: Who do YOU want to be President of the United States AFTER the revolution is over?”
“I believe that the World Bank/International Monetary Fund/Federal Reserve/IRS, mainstream media, corporatism, Zionism and GREED are the true axes of evil whether or not … they know or believe that themselves,” he continued. “Right or wrong, true or untrue; this is MY belief, and I firmly stand by it.”
Given his characterization of government as an all-encompassing criminal menace — a description no rational, honest person would dispute — it’s not surprising that Loxas regarded “ANY agent of the government” to be “an enemy of the PEOPLE,” and insisted that in the event of large-scale civic unrest that people should focus their rage on government buildings or officials, rather than each other. Whatever one thinks of the wisdom of such exhortations, they are indistinguishable, in tenor and reasoning, from countless similar examples one can cull from the writings of America’s revolutionary period.
Although Loxas was treated as if he were a heavily armed barricaded kidnapper, a search of his home turned up a total of two firearms — neither of which was within easy reach when he was killed by Officer Peters — and an object described as a “functional improvised explosive device” that was disposed of by a bomb squad and not inspected by any independent party.
The Scottsdale PD has claimed that the paramilitary tactics used in the confrontation were dictated by concerns for the infant’s safety. It’s not clear how shooting the grandfather while he was holding the infant was to the child’s benefit. Another possibility is that Loxas, by virtue of his impassioned political opinions, fit the profile of the dreaded “Sovereign Citizens” movement, which has been designated by the FBI as the most prominent domestic “terrorist” threat — and the most acute threat to “officer safety.”
In late January, an FBI-led paramilitary strike team conducted a full-force raid on the residence of a Lake Mary, Florida couple suspected of harboring “Sovereign Citizens”-derived political views. Brandishing automatic weapons and deploying camera-equipped robots, the SWAT team went through the house and garage, removing several boxes of documents. The couple has yet to be charged with a crime.
Last June, the Department of Homeland Security conducted drone surveillance of a remote farm outside Lakota, North Dakota at the request of Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke. The farm belonged to the family of Rodney Brossart, who was involved in a dispute with the Sheriff regarding the disposition of cattle that had wandered onto his land. Citing material emitted by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, Sheriff Janke described Brossart and his wife as suspected “Sovereign Citizens” — a designation that apparently elevated this insignificant quarrel over wandering livestock to the status of a threat against Homeland Security.
(Cross-posted from here.)12:51 pm on February 17, 2012 Email William Norman Grigg