QAnon: a timeline of violence linked to the conspiracy concept | US information
The QAnon conspiracy theory has been linked to several violent acts since 2018, with QAnon supporters arrested for threatening politicians, breaking into the residence of the Canadian prime minister, an armed standoff near the Hoover dam, a kidnapping plot and two kidnappings, and at least one murder.
QAnon adherents believe that Donald Trump is trying to save the world from a cabal of satanic pedophiles. The conspiracy theory’s narrative includes centuries-old antisemitic tropes, like the belief that the cabal is harvesting blood from abused children, and it names specific people, including Democratic politicians and Hollywood celebrities, as participants in a global plot. Experts call these extreme, baseless claims “an incitement to violence”.
The conspiracy theory’s claims have put ordinary people at risk. The FBI identified QAnon in 2019 as a potential domestic terror threat and the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point described it as a “novel challenge to public security”.
QAnon supporters believe that there will soon be mass arrests, and members of the cabal will be brought to justice. If supporters of the conspiracy theory begin to lose faith in Trump’s ability to stop the cabal of child abusers, said Travis View, one of the hosts of the QAnon Anonymous podcast, that might inspire them to begin taking more direct violent action themselves.
“QAnon has not brought a single child abuser closer to justice,” View said. “But QAnon has radicalized people into committing crimes and taking dangerous or violent actions that put children at risk.”
Here is a list of violent and criminal acts linked to QAnon:
15 June 2018: An Arizona resident blocks a bridge near the Hoover Dam with an armored vehicle. He later pleads guilty to a terrorism charge.
Matthew Wright was unhappy that Trump had not yet made the mass arrests QAnon supporters had anticipated, the Arizona Republic reported. Police said Wright had two military-style rifles, two handguns and 900 rounds of ammunition in his vehicle, according to the Associated Press. In 2020, Wright pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge, but a judge rejected a plea deal that would have given him less than 10 years in prison as too lenient.
The Hoover dam. Photograph: eye35.pix/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo
From jail, Wright later wrote letters to Trump and other elected officials that included one of the slogans of the QAnon movement, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
19 December 2018: A California man is arrested after being found with what appeared to be bomb-making materials in his car, in an alleged plot to blow up a satanic display in the capitol in Springfield, Illinois.
“The man allegedly was planning to ‘blow up a satanic temple monument’ in the Capitol rotunda in Springfield, Illinois, to ‘make Americans aware of Pizzagate and the New World Order’,” Yahoo News reported, citing an FBI intelligence briefing that described the incident. Illinois officials were notified of the threat at the time, the Peoria Journal-Star reported.
13 March 2019: In Staten Island, a 24-year-old man allegedly murders a leader in the Gambino crime family.
Anthony Comello’s lawyer has said that the 24-year-old man “ardently believed that Francesco Cali, a boss in the Gambino crime family, was a prominent member of the deep state, and, accordingly, an appropriate target for a citizen’s arrest”, the New York Times reported. “Mr Comello became certain that he was enjoying the protection of President Trump himself, and that he had the president’s full support,” the lawyer wrote.
Weeks before the alleged killing, Comello was in New York City, attempting to make a citizen’s arrest of the city’s mayor, as well as the Democratic congresspeople Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff, the Staten Island Advance reported. In June 2020, Comello was found mentally unfit to stand trial.
25 September 2019: A QAnon supporter allegedly smashes up the Chapel of the Holy Hill in Sedona, Arizona, while shouting about the Catholic church supporting human trafficking.
Timothy Larson, 41, was arrested a few hours after the incident, Red Rock News reported. Larson used QAnon hashtags on social media and referred to vandalizing the church as a “mission”, the local police chief said, according to the Arizona Republic.
A person wears a QAnon sweatshirt during a pro-Trump rally on Staten Island this month. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
30 December 2019: Montana police arrest a QAnon supporter from Colorado in connection with an alleged kidnapping scheme.
Colorado child welfare officials had removed Cynthia Abcug’s son from her custody in the spring of 2019, the Daily Beast reported. Her daughter told law enforcement that her mother and her mother’s friends were QAnon believers and that they were planning a kidnapping raid, the Daily Beast reported.
Abcug’s daughter also told police that her brother’s foster family were referred to as pedophiles and “evil Satan worshippers”, apparent references to the QAnon conspiracy theory, the Associated Press reported.
Abcug eventually left Colorado and traveled across the country, receiving assistance from a network of QAnon supporters, a Daily Beast investigation found, before she was arrested in Montana.
In September 2020, Abcug pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping.
26 March 2020: A Kentucky mother is charged with kidnapping twin daughters.
Neely Blanchard, a Kentucky woman linked to both the anti-government sovereign citizen movement and QAnon conspiracy theories, was arrested after taking her children from their grandmother, their legal guardian, the Daily Beast reported.
Law enforcement reportedly used cellphone data to locate Blanchard at the home of a group of anti-government extremists, a local sheriff told the Daily Beast. Blanchard had previously been charged with kidnapping another daughter from her school in 2013.
Blanchard had used sovereign citizen ideology to argue that she should legally have custody of her children, the Daily Beast reported.
“QAnon is popular on the sovereign citizen child custody groups, in part because its believers claim that the government and child protective agencies are abusing the children they take from their parents’ custody,” wrote the Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer, who has published in-depth investigations of several kidnapping cases with links to QAnon.
2 April 2020: A man is charged with intentionally derailing a freight train near the navy hospital ship Mercy in Los Angeles.
Eduardo Moreno, a train engineer from San Pedro, California, “admitted during an interview that he had run the train beyond the track because he believed the Mercy was part of suspicious activities involving the coronavirus”, according to prosecutors, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The USNS Mercy hospital ship as it leaves Los Angeles harbor in May. Photograph: AP
“In a second interview with FBI agents, Moreno, 44, said ‘he did it out of the desire to ‘wake people up,’ according to the affidavit,” NBC News reported. “‘Moreno stated that he thought that the USNS Mercy was suspicious and did not believe “the ship is what they say it’s for”.’”
While Moreno did not explicitly mention the QAnon conspiracy theory as a justification for the attack, many of the statements he made after his arrest “seem related to QAnon”, an analysis from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point noted.
30 April 2020: A woman is arrested after driving to New York and allegedly making threatening statements against Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
Jessica Prim, who posted about multiple QAnon conspiracy theories online, livestreamed her drive from Illinois to New York on Facebook. A post on her Facebook page read: “Hillary Clinton and her assistant, Joe Biden and Tony Podesta need to be taken out in the name of Babylon! I can’t be set free without them gone,” the Rock River Times, an independent Illinois newspaper, reported.
Prim, 37, said she was driving to the USNS Comfort, another hospital ship docked in New York because of coronavirus, but ended up arrested outside a historical aircraft carrier, the Intrepid, the New York Post reported. Police said they found multiple knives in her vehicle. “I was watching the press conferences with Donald Trump on TV. I felt like he was talking to me,” Prim reportedly said. “I felt like I was supposed to come to Comfort and get some help because I felt like I was the coronavirus.”
11 June 2020: A Boston man leads police on a 20-mile car chase while livestreaming himself talking about QAnon.
“Donald Trump, I need a miracle or something,” Alpalus Slyman said during his 11 June car chase across Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in remarks captured on a livestream, the Daily Beast reported. “QAnon, help me. QAnon, help me!”
The 29-year-old man’s five children, ages 13, five, two, one and eight months, were also in the car, “in distress and needing help”, police said, according to NBC Boston. “We don’t want to die,” one of his daughters screamed at one point, the Union Leader reported.
“Slyman warned his children during the chase that the police were coming to abduct them – or maybe just shoot them in a staged killing,” the Daily Beast reported. He also accused his wife and daughter of being part of the plot. The oldest daughter posted about what was happening on social media during the car chase, according to the Union Leader. Their mother had reportedly jumped out of the car, afraid of her husband’s behavior.
Slyman eventually crashed, but his children were not hurt. He faced multiple charges related to the chase.
3 July 2020: Corey Hurren, a reservist in the Canadian Rangers, allegedly rams a truck through the gates of the prime minister’s residence in Ottawa.
Hurren was inside the grounds for 13 minutes before authorities spotted him. He is “also accused of uttering a threat to ‘cause death or bodily harm’ to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was not home at the time”, CBC reported.
A police officer stands near a damaged gate at Rideau Hall, where Justin Trudeau lives. Photograph: Patrick Doyle/Reuters
“An hour before entering the grounds of Rideau hall, GrindHouse Fine Foods, the sausage-making company Hurren runs, posted a picture of an outdoor party that would occur after the lockdown, directing people to to look up ‘Event 201’. The reference was to a conspiracy theory that Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, was responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Guardian reported.
Hurren’s company also posted a QAnon meme to Instagram in March, according to reporting from Vice News. “Has anyone else been following ‘Q’ and the ‘White Rabbit’ down the rabbit hole and how this all relates to the coronavirus/Covid-19 situation? Lots of coincidences in all these ‘Q’ posts if this turns out to be a ‘Nothingburger’,” the caption said.”
12 August 2020: A Texas woman is arrested after allegedly chasing and crashing into a car, then telling police she thought she was chasing a pedophile
Cecilia Fulbright, 30, was arrested in Waco, Texas, after two drivers reported being chased by another driver, and one reported being repeatedly rammed by another vehicle, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported. Officers said Fulbright told them afterwards that she believed the driver whose car she hit was a pedophile and that she was rescuing a young girl from being trafficked, the paper reported. Her blood alcohol level at the time was more than double the legal limit.
Two of Fulbright’s acquaintances told Right Wing Watch that she had become deeply absorbed in the QAnon conspiracy theory, including talking about how Trump was “literally taking down the cabal and the pedophile ring” and that she continued to describe herself as a follower of QAnon even after her arrest.
1 October 2020: Utah woman arrested in Oregon for allegedly kidnapping her young son
Emily Jolley allegedly fled with her six-year-old son, whose father has sole legal custody, after a supervised visit, and was later located in Oregon, where she was arrested, KUTV reported.
Like Blanchard, the Kentucky mother, Jolley was described by a Utah law enforcement official as a member of the anti-government sovereign citizens movement, KUTV reported. Her social media profiles were also full of references to Trump and QAnon, the Daily Beast reported, including a link to an article claiming that Child Protective Services steals children to drain them of a special substance drunk by members of a global cabal that runs the world, a central element of the QAnon conspiracy theory.