Three days after the attack on four different downtown buildings, investigators released details which suggest Steve McQuilliams planned a much larger assault on downtown which may have been politically and religiously motivated.
“Hate was in his heart,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. “He is a homegrown American terrorist trying to terrorize our people.”
Acevedo’s comments came after he and the Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs released new information about the incident which left 103 defects inside and outside the Austin Police Headquarters and similar destruction at the Federal Courthouse, Mexican Consulate building, and a downtown area bank.
Through the course of interviewing those who had contact with the shooter, the FBI said McQuilliams made cursory comments expressing frustration with his inability to land a job and he felt immigrants were given opportunities not afforded to him.
Acevedo said the book “Vigilantes of Christendom” was also found in the shooter’s van along with a note and Bible verses indicating he planned on fighting “anti-God people.” Statements made in interviews also tied him to ultra-conservative groups with anti-Semitic, anti-homosexual, and anti-bi-racial families according to Acevedo.
“Terrorists come in all sorts of colors, ethnicities, and religions,” said Acevedo. “By no means can you call him anything other than an extremist.”
The police chief said the white van Mcquilliams used during the shooting spree was rented from Avis on West 35th Street in Central Austin. Owner Shelia Keefer was there when he came in on the Wednesday before the shooting to pick it up.
Keefer said Mcquilliams did seem a little odd, but nothing to be concerned about. He had a valid Kansas driver’s license and was supposed to return the van on Friday at noon. Shelia got a call from Austin police Friday morning asking if Mcquilliams rented the van from their shop. At that point one of her employee had already seen the vehicle on the news.
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