LA suspect tied to radical Ariz. militias

The Arizona Republic/August 12, 1999
By Dennis Wagner

Buford O'Neal Furrow Jr., a Washington state man suspected of spraying five people with machine-gun fire Tuesday at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles, is not from Arizona.

But there is a connection, as one might expect from a state notorious for radical militias and supremacist organizations.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Furrow had ties with the Order, a defunct organization founded 25 years ago by Robert Mathews, a neo-Nazi terrorist whose roots sprouted in Arizona. In fact, Furrow married Mathews' widow.

Mathews conducted paramilitary training with followers in the desert near Cave Creek during the mid-1970s, honing his politics and violence. Then he moved to the Pacific Northwest and formed the Order as an offshoot of the Christian Identity movement.

Mathews and his band robbed banks, torched a synagogue and took responsibility for assassinating a Denver talk-radio host before Dec. 8, 1984, when they got into a gunfight with FBI agents. Mathews holed up in a cabin on Whidbey Island, Wash., and died when fire engulfed the residence.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Furrow later married Mathews' widow, Debra, in a ceremony conducted by the Rev. Richard Butler, pastor of a supremacist Christian sect known as the Aryan Nations.

Other radical Arizonans have migrated to the Pacific Northwest since then, including Jack McLamb, a former Phoenix police officer who founded Police Against the New World Order. McLamb, who wrote a popular extremist tract called Vampire Killer 2000, has worked with former presidential candidate James "Bo" Gritz to build a "constitutional covenant community" in Idaho.

Meanwhile, the state's legacy of radical militia and patriot sagas includes:

Timothy McVeigh, convicted of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. McVeigh plotted the anti-government slaughter while living in Kingman motel rooms. Michael Fortier, also of Kingman, provided key testimony in the case.

Twelve Valley residents who made up the so-called Viper Militia were indicted in 1996 on weapons charges and accused of conspiring to blow up numerous federal buildings.

Arizona Patriots, another militia-style outfit based near Kingman, was infiltrated by the FBI in 1986. Jack Oliphant and other members were sent to prison in connection with plans to bomb a Phoenix synagogue, an Internal Revenue Service center in Utah and other buildings.

In October of 1995, unknown terrorists derailed an Amtrak passenger train southwest of Phoenix, causing one death and numerous injuries. The saboteurs left an anti-government message identifying themselves as "Sons of the Gestapo."



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