A pair of Missouri residents affiliated with a militia group traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to demonstrate how Jacob Blake was shot by police “to pillage and possibly” pick up “people,” according to a federal criminal complaint .
Michael Karmo, 40, and Cody Smith, 33, both from Hartville, Missouri, were arrested Tuesday at a hotel in Kenosha County for illegal gun possession. Both men are banned from possessing firearms due to previous criminal convictions.
Karmo has already been convicted of vehicle theft and break-in. Smith has a domestic battery of belief.
According to the complaint, the Kenosha Police Department informed the FBI that a law enforcement agency in Iowa had received a notice that the two would be traveling to town with firearms. The FBI received messages between Karmo and the tipster, some of which showed Karmo was posing with a magazine that looked like a gun and drum, the complaint said.
The message to the unidentified tipster read: “This is a game changer.”
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“Karmo told (him) he was going to Kenosha to possibly use the firearms on people,” the complaint read, referring to a witness. (The witness) “feared this with Karmo’s rise in conspiracy theory and other ‘insane'” political talk, he wasn’t in the right attitude to have a gun. “
During a search of her hotel room, the authorities found body armor, tactical equipment, a self-made silencer, an AR-15 rifle, a Mossberg 500 AB 12-gauge shotgun, two handguns, a drone, a knife and ammunition, among other things.
The couple arrived in town Tuesday to attend a rally in support of President Trump, who toured the city and met with local officials. They went to a local high school where Trump was speaking and brought handguns but locked them in a car, Karmo reportedly told investigators.
He said they also wanted to see evidence of civil unrest in the city.
The protests in Kenosha against the Blake shooting were mostly peaceful, but after hours turned violent for several days. Blake was paralyzed after being shot and killed seven times by Kenosha policeman Rusten Sheskey on August 23.
Violence amid the protests culminated when 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed two protesters and wounded a third last week.
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He is exposed to several criminal offenses, including murder.
Karmo and Smith are members of the 417 Second Amendment Militia in Missouri, the complaint said. The group’s Facebook page closed as of Friday, but the Kenosha News reported several posts celebrating Rittenhouse and law enforcement agencies.
The newspaper said Karmo and Smith were being held in Kenosha County Jail pending transfer to the FBI. The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department has not returned any messages from Fox News.