A 26-year-old Seattle man who described himself online as both a member of the far-right Proud Boys group and a believer in the sprawling QAnon conspiracy theory, Buckey Wolfe, is in custody after allegedly stabbing his brother in the head with a sword on Sunday, the Seattle Times reported.
Prosecutors say Wolfe stabbed his brother with the four-foot-long sword while he was hallucinating and believed the latter was a lizard posing as a human, something that local station KIRO 7 reported he later believed of detectives investigating the case. The Times wrote that court and jail documents show authorities are attempting to hold Wolfe without bail, saying he poses an extreme danger to the community:
“The defendant’s actions—jamming the tang end of a four-foot long sharpened metal-bladed sword-like instrument completely through the victim’s head and killing him—demonstrate the danger he poses,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott O’Toole wrote in charging papers. “Moreover, (the) defendant appears to be severely mentally ill.”
Per the Times, Wolfe called 911 to report the killing and identified himself to homicide detectives as a diagnosed schizophrenic. The paper added that the King County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released the victim’s age or “issued a ruling on his cause and manner of death.”
Wolfe’s online trail on several major platforms appeared to show extensive evidence of association with both the Proud Boys and an affinity for conspiratorial content, which the Times wrote prosecutors alluded to as evidence of mental instability in their request to deny bail.
According to the Daily Beast, a Facebook page belonging to Wolfe and confirmed as legitimate by KIRO 7 contained numerous pro-Donald Trump messages, a post containing a declaration of allegiance to the Proud Boys (signifying their “first degree” of membership), and another reading “I’m a proud Western chauvinist and I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”
Wolfe added the Proud Boys slogan “Uhuru!!!”
The Proud Boys “Elders” admitted in a statement on their website that Wolfe had associated with them, but claimed he “never made it past our strict vetting protocols” and that asserting he was a member of the group was “guilt by association.” However, the Beast wrote that Wolfe was Facebook friends with other group members and as well as appeared in photos with Proud Boys. Megan Squire, an Elon University professor and data scientist who researches online extremism, tweeted that API info shows Wolfe had been added to a “Northwest ProudBoys Vetting Page and Trans Positive Safe Space” Facebook page on or before Feb. 25, 2018.
According to the Beast, Wolfe also frequently posted about QAnon—a far-right conspiracy theory originating on the anonymous 4chan imageboard. Believers assert Trump is waging a secret war against a sinister cabal of Democratic pedophiles and their “deep state” allies. It’s absolutely as ludicrous as it sounds, but has become a sort of Internet-based cult.
The Beast wrote:
Wolfe frequently posted QAnon-related content on Facebook, including references to QAnon believers’ motto, “Where We Go One, We Go All.”
He encouraged people to share QAnon graphics, telling his followers to “share this meme ammo.” He also made posts in the style of “Q,” the anonymous person or group of people giving the “clues” that have inspired QAnon, and posted links to the now-closed QAnon subreddit.
Other QAnon-related posts on Wolfe’s page said that “swords” would be used to defeat the “Illuminati,” and in YouTube videos, he referred to the lizard people supposedly surrounding him and claimed Trump would soon be the victor over the supposed cabal, the Beast added. He also posted about Infowars, the conspiracy website run Alex Jones that was recently driven off major platforms.
Since it began in late 2017, the QAnon theory has spread far and wide, with proponents including TV celebrity Roseanne Barr (who has since become persona non grata in Hollywood due to racist tweets) and a Florida sheriff’s deputy who was demoted after wearing a QAnon patch to a photo op with Vice President Mike Pence.
It’s also been associated with other extreme incidents: A QAnon believer who blocked a road near Hoover Dam in 2018 with what authorities called a “homemade armored car” filled with weaponry was later indicted on terrorism charges.
The Proud Boys themselves have been kicked off major payment processing platforms after a group of their members was arrested by the NYPD for street brawling with protesters. In November 2018, its founder Gavin McInnes began distancing himself from the group, but not without begging for money for a supposed legal defense fund.
Gizmodo has reached out to the Proud Boys for further comment, and we’ll update this post if we hear back with anything more substantive.
Update: 1/10/2019, 4:25 p.m. ET: In a statement to Gizmodo, Official Proud Boys’ “Pawl Bazile” (real name Paul Basile) wrote that the NW Proud Boys “have no idea who he is because he’s never attended a meet up or socialized with our members outside a public event (or perhaps social media).” He added:
You’re telling me he was Facebook friends with some proud boys. I was Facebook friends with a couple cast members of SNL, but you might be surprised to learn Lauren Michaels [sic] didn’t call me in to host. As you’re aware, anyone can be friends with anyone on Facebook and you don’t necessarily know each other or be aware of every one of their wacky opinions on a number of topics including 1930s European politics, flat earth, or if they believe their brother is a lizard. If that is your best evidence you’re either being profoundly disingenuous to your readers or stupid.
He apparently attended public events attended by proud boys? Yeah, hundredss if not thousands of people attended those same events, and no, we don’t do a background check anytime one member is in a picture with a member of the general public.