A pair of Missouri residents affiliated with a militia group traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to demonstrate that Jacob Blake was shot and killed by police in order to “pillage and possibly” pick up “people.
Michael Karmo, 40, and Cody Smith, 33, both from Hartville, Missouri, were arrested Tuesday at a hotel in Kenosha County for illegal gun possession. Both men are banned from possessing firearms due to previous criminal convictions.
Karmo has previously been convicted of vehicle theft and, among other things, has evaded a peace officer who has resulted in injuries or death and burglary. Smith has a domestic battery of belief.
According to the complaint, the Kenosha Police Department informed the FBI that a law enforcement agency in Iowa had received a notice that the two would be traveling to town with firearms. The FBI received messages between Karmo and the tipster, some of which showed Karmo was posing with a magazine that looked like a gun and drum, the complaint said.
The message to the unidentified tipster read: “This is a game changer.”
“Karmo told (him) he was going to Kenosha to possibly use the firearms on people,” the complaint read, referring to a witness. (The witness) “feared that with increasing talk about conspiracy theory and other” crazy “political talk, Karmo was not in the right attitude to have a firearm.”
During a search of her hotel room, the authorities found body armor, tactical equipment, a self-made silencer, an AR-15 rifle, a Mossberg 500 AB 12-gauge shotgun, two handguns, a drone, a knife and ammunition, among other things.
The couple arrived in town Tuesday to attend a rally in support of President Trump, who toured the city and met with local officials. They went to a local high school where Trump was speaking and brought handguns but locked them in a car, Karmo reportedly told investigators.
They also wanted to see evidence of civil unrest and “see what kenosha is like at night,” the complaint said. The tipster informed authorities that Karmo and Smith were “planning to loot and possibly” pick up people. “No details were given in the complaint.
The protests in Kenosha against the Blake shooting were mostly peaceful, but after hours turned violent for several days. Blake was paralyzed after being shot and killed seven times by Kenosha policeman Rusten Sheskey on August 23.
Violence amid the protests culminated when 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed two protesters and wounded a third last week.
He is exposed to several criminal offenses, including murder.
Karmo and Smith are members of the 417 Second Amendment Militia in Missouri, the complaint said. The group’s Facebook page closed as of Friday, but the Kenosha News reported several posts celebrating Rittenhouse and law enforcement agencies.
The newspaper said Karmo and Smith were being held in Kenosha County Jail pending transfer to the FBI. The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department has not returned any messages from Fox News.