UPDATE: Pittsburgh Police Officers Killed On Saturday: Shooter Held Extremist Views, Believed FEMA Concentration Camp Conspiracy Theory

Let’s begin with some Breaking News. An armed suspect who tried to shoot two Pittsburgh police officers early this morning underwent surgery after the officers shot him, police said.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting the suspect was bleeding from the head and holding a gun as he approached a police car. An officer ordered him to drop the gun, and the man tried to shoot the officer.

By this time, another police officer had arrived in a second patrol car. The man then charged both officers, and they shot him, police said.

Three Pittsburgh police officers were shot and killed Saturday while responding to a domestic call. Richard “Pop” Poplawski, 22, was identified as the suspected shooter.

The Anti-Defamation League, which monitors extremist groups, now says Poplawski had an account at Stormfront.org, and was pushing conspiracy theories and engaging in hate speech against Jews, nonwhites and the government.

“This was a troubled young man who was deeply infected with anti-Semitism and racism and who bought into conspiracy theories about Jews and other racial minorities and the government,” said Shari Kochman, ADL Allegheny Regional Director, based in Cleveland. “He was able to obtain confirmation of his views by sharing them with like-minded white supremacist sites and joining their online community of haters.”

One theory Poplawski shared was that the government — through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — was setting up concentration camps to imprison Americans.

Some members of AdSurfDaily have advanced a FEMA conspiracy theory, citing talk-show host Glenn Beck as a source. ASD recently asked members to write to Beck to protest the government’s actions in the ASD case.

ADL On Poplawski

Here is some research on Poplawski by ADL:

“Following the Super Bowl victory of the Pittsburgh Steelers in early February 2009, Poplawski used the celebrations that occurred in Pittsburgh as an opportunity to ‘survey police procedure in an unrestful environment,’ and reported the results of his reconnaissance to fellow Stormfronters. “It was just creepy seeing busses [sic] put into action by authorities, as if they were ready to transport busloads of Steeler fans to 645 FEMA drive if necessary,” ADL quoted Poplawski as saying.

“This last comment was a reference to popular right-wing conspiracy theories about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-constructed prisons and concentration camps for U.S. citizens. Such conspiracy theories had long been staples of the militia movement, but received a reinvigorating shot in the arm following the election of Barack Obama as president. Almost overnight, right-wing conspiracists across the country revived all of their 1990s militia conspiracy theories about the ‘New World Order,’ planned gun confiscations, and government plots against the citizenry. Once more, wild speculations about SHTF (“s–t hits the fan”) and TEOTWAKI (“the end of the world as we know it”) scenarios became rampant.

“Poplawski bought into the SHTF/TEOTWAKI conspiracy theories hook, line and sinker, even posting a link to Stormfront of a YouTube video featuring talk show host Glenn Beck talking about FEMA camps with Congressman Ron Paul. When the city of Pittsburgh got a Homeland Security grant to add surveillance cameras to protect downtown bridges, Poplawski told Stormfronters that it was ‘ramping up the police state.’ He said, too, that he gave warnings to grocery store customers he encountered (but only if they were white) to stock up on canned goods and other long-lasting foods.”

Read ADL’s information on Poplawsk here and here.

Read the Post-Gazette story about the latest encounter by Pittsburgh police with a man with a gun.

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One Response to “UPDATE: Pittsburgh Police Officers Killed On Saturday: Shooter Held Extremist Views, Believed FEMA Concentration Camp Conspiracy Theory”

  1. Hey Patrick,

    I am happy that this episode turned out better….for the cops. The police and other first responders run into situations civilians are fleeing on a daily basis.

    My condolences on the sad episode of having 3 officers killed on Saturday. Oakland, CA just had 4 officers killed, 2 during a routine traffic stop and two SWAT officers who entered the building where the suspect was hiding. Unfortunately, some groups are holding up the shooter as a martyr. This was a man suspected of raping a 12 year old girl recently. He also had a long rap sheet.

    My condolences are also with the families of those killed in New York last week and the community.