Agents arrest suspected stalker, find journal claiming ‘I am God’s wrath’
Federal agents said they discovered a cache of modified weapons inside the barricaded home of a Spokane man believed to have authored a frightening manifesto declaring himself the embodiment of God’s wrath.
The man, identified in court documents as Brent Russ, 33, was being investigated by the FBI for allegedly stalking a tribal police officer and was taken into custody Thursday without incident.
Although authorities stop short of describing Russ as a potential mass killer, investigators draw attention in court documents to a series of violent threats, including his willingness to die in battle as an agent of God and references to himself as Azrael, the Archangel of Death. He also wrote about his desire to develop a “kill room” reminiscent of what someone would see in an episode of “Dexter,” a TV series about a serial killer.
Court documents filed in support of his arrest indicate Russ barricaded himself inside his southwest Spokane home to fend off nocturnal creatures he vowed to slay with a sword by slicing through their brains. A locked safe in Russ’ home yielded several firearms, including semiautomatic weapons, and a journal dating to February in which he makes various claims, including his belief that Adam Lanza was framed for the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 26 people, including 20 children, dead.
FBI Supervisory Special Agent Frank Harrill led the investigation, according to documents, but he declined to discuss the case Thursday.
At an initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Thursday afternoon, Russ was shackled at the feet and appeared in street clothes, his blond hair shaved close. Magistrate Judge John Rodgers ordered a pretrial evaluation before Russ’ bail hearing next week to include an evaluation of his psychological state.
Authorities were alerted to Russ after a neighbor reported threatening behavior and evidence of extreme surveillance. The neighbor informed Spokane Mental Health of Russ’ behavior in August, which drew angry threats.
The weapons found in Russ’ home allegedly were modified to inflict greater harm. A Glock pistol, which Russ claimed in his journal was purchased legally at a gun show, featured after-factory modifications designed “to shoot more accurate rounds in a reduced amount of time,” according to an affidavit prepared by the FBI. A modified shotgun and semi-automatic assault-style rifle were also discovered in the home.
Russ also claimed he’d developed an “18-page plan to dissolve the US Federal Government” that he mailed to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio. He changed his name to Russ from Moldenhauer in 2009 and claimed he’d experienced a “download” earlier this year that persuaded him to file civil claims in court against America’s largest banks tied to the housing bubble burst in 2008.
“Brent from the middle English ‘burnt’ and Russ from the French ‘Rouse’ or ‘Red.’ I am ‘burnt red’ – or literally I am God’s wrath,” Russ allegedly wrote in a March journal entry.
The stalking charge Russ faces carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. He is being held by federal marshals in advance of a bail hearing, which is set for next week.