A gunman from California who allegedly drove his truck into a crowd of peaceful racial justice protesters this year was using his family’s vineyard as a “training camp” to prepare for “civil unrest,” federal authorities said Wednesday.
Benjamin Hung, 28, was charged with a firearm transport conspiracy and false testimony in acquiring firearms. That was the result of a criminal complaint filed this week in the US District Court for Central California.
In the complaint, an FBI agent named Diamond Outlaw said that Hung was arrested after speeding up a Dodge Ram adorned with multiple right-wing extremist flags and a license plate reading “WAR R1
The approximately 150 demonstrators were in the old town of Pasadena on the afternoon of May 31.
The agent says the protesters who sang “Black Lives Matter Here” ran out of the way to avoid being hit. After being arrested by local police, Hung told authorities that he felt threatened after protesters reportedly threw things on his truck.
No evidence confirmed Hang’s account, the agent says, and officers who raided his truck found a loaded Glock pistol, 15-round magazine, machete, 18-inch metal whistle, megaphone and $ 3,200, according to affidavit in cash.
Hung was charged with attempted assault with a lethal weapon in the State Supreme Court. Court records reveal that he deposited a $ 30,000 bond on June 12. An indictment and a plea are scheduled for Tuesday.
No lawyer is listed on the records, and Hung could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
According to the federal complaint, Hung stayed in San Marino near Pasadena and Lodi south of Sacramento, where his family has a vineyard.
The complaint describes the vineyard as a “tactical training camp” and shooting range that Hung and others sought to use amid an increase in conspiracy theories related to the coronavirus pandemic. In a text message quoted in the complaint, Hung allegedly called them “our own shooting range”.
In a photo included in the complaint, Hung is seen in a shirt with the logo of the 3 percent, a right-wing extremist militia group.
The complaint alleges that Hung stored weapons. A photo that authorities obtained from his iCloud account included in the documents shows assault rifles, semi-automatic pistols, magazines, ammunition, a tactical vest, binoculars, telescopic sight and other equipment.
The agents say the guns were likely bought outside of the state and kept at the San Marino home.
Hung was accused of illegally acquiring the Glock found in his truck and buying three guns that he had brought to California.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Hung had an attorney in his federal trial.