The arrest on Thursday of Robert Joos in connection with a 2004 bomb incident in which three Scottsdale, Ariz., city employees were injured raises the question: Where is Timothy Thomas Coombs?
Coombs, 50, reputedly was a follower of the Sacerdotal Order of David Company, of which Joos, a white supremacist, was pastor. Coombs, also known as James Wilson and Cal Liberty, is accused of shooting and wounding a Missouri state trooper in September 1994 as he stood at his kitchen window. He is believed to have been enraged at the trooper’s role in arresting Joos earlier that year, after Joos had been a fugitive for several years. Coombs — who authorities say hides one pistol in an ankle holster and another in the center of his back — has now been a fugitive himself for nearly 15 years, despite a $100,000 reward offered by the FBI for information leading to his capture.
“It’s still an open and ongoing investigation for the FBI,” says Bridget Patton, a spokeswoman in the FBI’s Kansas City bureau.
The same is true for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “We’re following all leads, worldwide,” Sgt. Curtis Wirth tells Hatewatch. But, he adds, there haven’t been many leads, and none has been substantiated.
Here’s the background: Joos was arrested on the same day last week as Dennis and Daniel Mahon, who were accused of sending a package bomb in 2004 to the diversity office in Scottsdale. Diversity Director Don Logan was the most seriously injured in the ensuing explosion, requiring extensive surgery on his hands and arms. Dennis Mahon is a former Klansman and skinhead recruiter, as well as a longtime member of Tom Metzger’s White Aryan Resistance (WAR), authorities say. His twin brother, Daniel, also was involved in the Klan and in WAR. [ATF agents searched Metzger’s Indiana home the same day the Mahons and Joos were arrested, taking some items, but not charging Metzger with any crimes].
Joos was the first person Dennis Mahon called the day the package bomb was delivered, according to the indictment charging the Mahons. Undercover operatives were quoted in the indictment alleging that Joos is a longtime white supremacist associate and expert on weapons, explosives and bombmaking who taught an informant how to make napalm. Joos was charged with being a felon in possession of firearms when he was arrested last week.
In 1984, some of Joos’ followers shot at a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper. Joos was subsequently charged with serving a false restraining order on the trooper ordering him not to arrest one of the men charged with shooting at him. Joos then became a fugitive, hiding, he told undercover operatives, in caves on his 200-acre farm in rural Missouri.
Joos finally was arrested in 1994 and sentenced to two years. While Joos was in prison, Coombs allegedly shot, sniper-style, at Missouri State Trooper Bobbie J. Harper, one of Joos’ arresting officers, as he stood at his kitchen window. Harper survived the gunshot, but died two years later of apparently unrelated causes. As for Coombs, he fled rather than face criminal charges that include first-degree assault.
Investigators searched the caves on Joos’ property this past weekend for signs of Coombs. They found nothing but “old soda bottles and trash,” Wirths says. They also spoke to Joos. “He didn’t give us any information. I don’t have any reason to believe he’s hiding Timothy Coombs.”
“In my opinion, he’s dead,” Wirth adds. “We have a $100,000 reward. He was so vocal, so in your face … he would make somebody mad. Either he’d get arrested or [somebody] would turn him in. He was hated by a lot of people.”