Man arrested on gun charge after relatives alert police to his alleged white nationalist outbursts
WASHINGTON – A District of Columbia man who described himself as a white nationalist to law enforcement officers and became a follower on social media of the accused Pittsburgh synagogue shooter has been arrested on a gun charge after his worried relatives contacted the authorities, according to federal court filings.
Jeffrey Clark Jr., 30, is charged with illegally possessing a firearm and a high-speed magazine and made his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Washington. He was ordered held until Friday.
Clark, who lives in the Bloomingdale neighborhood, was arrested Nov. 9, court filings show, after two family members had alerted police to Clark’s increasingly agitated outbursts, including that the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh mass shooting “deserved it,” court files state. The outbursts occurred in the wake of Clark’s brother’s suicide.
Edward Clark, 23, fatally shot himself on Roosevelt Island near Washington within hours of the Oct. 27 Pittsburgh shooting at Tree of Life synagogue, the court filings for Jeffrey Clark state.
Relatives told police that both brothers had been involved in alt-right movements, according to the court records. Jeffrey Clark told FBI agents he and his brother became interested in firearms in 2016 “because they believed there was going to be a civil war,” according to an account of his statement filed in court.
Police said in court documents that he used the social networking Internet site Gab, which does not monitor content, to share his nationalist views with others, including Robert Bowers, the suburban Pittsburgh man charged with federal hates crimes in the synagogue attack.
Jeffrey Clark was “DC Bowl Gang” on the social networking site, the court files state, and Edward Clark went by “DC—Stormer.”
Court papers assert that after his brother’s death, Jeffrey Clark posted on Gab a photo of the brothers wearing masks and holding a shotgun and a rifle, in front of a flag with a skull and cross bones. The documents state Jeffrey Clark posted a description of himself as a “Meth-Smoking, Pipe bomb making, mailman-murding … Che Guevara of the altright.”
Of the attack on the synagogue, court papers say Jeffrey Clark posted a picture of the suspected gunman spattered in what appears to be blood and wrote, “This was a dry run for things to come.”
Jeffrey Clark warned a family member after the Pittsburgh shootings that the FBI might come around because he had followed the shooting suspect on the Internet. Jeffrey Clark said, according to the court document, “They had not broken any laws, but at some point if a line gets crossed, I would be violent, everyone has a line …”
Authorities said in the court document that the brothers “fantasized about killing ‘Jews and blacks’ ” and that family members feared Jeffrey Clark might harm himself or others.
The court documents say the Clark brothers had four guns between them registered in the District – a Remington Arms handgun, a Mossberg shotgun, a Beretta handgun and a Ruger Mini-14 rifle. The Beretta was recovered at the site of the suicide, the court files state. Court documents say agents seized the other weapons from a relative’s home outside of the District.
The documents say Jeffrey Clark surrendered another weapon to agents, a Colt .38 handgun, that was not registered to either brother. The FBI said in court filings that agents also confiscated two kits to convert semiautomatic AR-15 rifles to be able to fire fully automatic.
Authorities said they found a muzzle-loading pistol in Jeffrey Clark’s bedroom and in the basement of the house. In Edward Clark’s room, the court documents state, they found two ballistic vests, two ballistic helmets and two gas masks.
FBI agents said in court that in Jeffrey Clark’s bedroom, they found a muzzleloading pistol and shotgun shells, the filings state.
Court papers say that Clark’s relatives told authorities that Clark admired Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and killer Charles Manson and that relatives said “Jeffrey and Edward Clark believed there would be a race revolution and they wanted to expedite it.”
Clark, was charged with illegally possessing a firearm while using or addicted to a controlled substance, and with possession of a high-speed magazine. During his interview with federal agents, he told them he used marijuana nearly every day.
He made his first appearance Saturday at District Superior Court, which transferred his case to U.S. District Court, where U.S. Magistrate Michael Harvey assigned Clark a federal defender and ordered him held until Friday.
Clark, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, did not enter a plea and said little at the hearing beyond confirming that he was a high school graduate and needed an appointed attorney. Assistant Federal Defender David Bos declined to comment.