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Man Slain After Firing on Ohio Police Carried Extremist Books

By Bill Morlin on May 9, 2013 - 3:46 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime

Authorities in Ohio say they aren’t sure what motivated a 42-year-old man to jump out of his car during a traffic stop in March and suddenly fire 37 rounds at two police officers. What seems clear, however, is the case is yet another example of the danger posed to unsuspecting officers who confront individuals steeped in extremist antigovernment ideas.

James L. Gilkerson had a library of antigovernment, homemade munitions and firearms books in his vehicle — along with an AK-47 assault rifle, five loaded 40-round magazines for the weapon, knives, five pounds of gunpowder and a black mask and gloves, authorities say. He was unemployed, spent his time caring for his ill mother, and apparently had no history of mental illness.

One of his books, Resistance to Tyranny, espouses a lone-wolf  “underground movement of secret freedom fighters, each acting individually and independently to ignore, evade, resist and thwart the increasingly heavy hand of government power.”

When his car was stopped after running a stop sign on March 10 — a quiet Sunday in Middlefield, Ohio — Gilkerson exited through his driver’s side door and began firing his assault rifle before officers could even get out of their police cruiser.

Gilkerson fired 37 shots at officers Erin Thomas and Brandon Savage, who both returned fire, shooting 54 rounds at Gilkerson as he shouted, “Kill me.” He died at the scene. The unnerving gunfight, captured on a dash cam in the officers’ bullet-riddled patrol car, is now a high-hit posting on YouTube.

“He was a scumbag, and a terrorist, and he’s dead,” Middlefield Police Chief Arnold Stanko said at a news conference last week, according to The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer.

“I don’t know what he had planned or where he was going,” the chief said. “I just know he got out of his car intending to kill my officers. The AK-47 rounds he was firing would go right through a policeman’s bulletproof vest.”

Both officers were wounded. Thomas lost the index finger of her left hand, and has not returned to duty. Savage had minor injuries to his left thigh and has returned to patrol work, the chief said.

After an investigation involving the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office, the officers’ actions were found to be justified.

“When you see what he had, how much ammunition he had, these officers may have prevented a tragedy down the road,” Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz told Cleveland television station WKYC-TV.

The investigation showed that Gilkerson, who authorities described as a “loner,” had no known connections with extremist or antigovernment groups and had no criminal record. But he apparently did have an appetite for reading, particularly books about bombs, firearms and antigovernment activism.

  • aadila

    Last time I checked, everything is still run by the strongest and most brutal types, with the NRA right there in the thick of it.

  • Sam Molloy

    Sounds ideal, Aadilia, except without these equalizers everything would be run by the strongest and most brutal types.

  • aadila

    Thanks for the clarification, Sam. Clips, magazines, pistols, revolvers, and bullets. I would happily bulldoze them all.

  • Sam Molloy

    Not a bore, Adilia. You are correct. A Clip is a bunch of cartridges in a package ready to insert into a Magazine, a la WWII M1 Garand rifle. A Detatchable Magazine has a spring behind the cartridges to feed them into a firing mechanism a la WWII Colt 1911 .45 semiautomatic pistol. A revolver is not a pistol. And Bullet is Roy Roger’s dog. I use the common terms sometimes.

  • aadila

    Sorry to be a bore, but it is “magazine” not “clip”. The term “clip” comes from Hollywood. We might as well strive for accuracy.

  • Gregory

    I think we could agree that a gun is likely to have more utility in a self defense situation than a prayer to your god, if for no other reason than one is real and the other isn’t. That is not really a contradiction, but an admission of reality.

    We’ve been treated to your interpretation of Revelation and I can say, with some confidence, that this is something that we will not agree upon.

  • Sam Molloy

    Gregory, before you start with the seeming contradiction between Faith versus Guns, I liken it to jumping off a wall or not putting gas in the car and expecting God to do all the work to save your dumb a**.

  • Sam Molloy

    EightBIts, the concept of out shooting the US Military is laughable. Some reasonable persons expect a further breakdown of law and order, gradually as Police are laid off, like in Oakland, Newark and Detroit, or totally, in isolated cases like the recent London riots or nationwide like Somalia. IMO a five round clip for long guns and limiting handgun clips to the length of the grip or 10 rounds ur so would be a decent compromise. The 40 round clips like in this person’s rifle IMO should absolutely be unavailable. Previous to the current Newtown inspired spate of proposed laws there was a proposed big clip ban, but the fact that they would be allowed for Police caused it to not be passed because it stirred up both paranoia and a reasonable scenario that some would still inevitably fall into the wrong hands, and, like all gun laws, would only apply to responsible, law abiding citizens.

  • Reynardine

    Again to Paul: this is the kind of call the police hate:

  • Sam Molloy

    Aadilia, I have a copy of the Book of Mary Magdalene, including the links to other verses that back up what she said. I highly recommend it. I wish I had read it when I was Jung. (Joke)

  • Sam Molloy

    Gregory, everyone is responsible for their own interpretation of all literature including what we call the Christian Bible. There are at least as many influences against it as for it. One popular notion is that Revelation alredy happened when Rome destroyed Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple. The reason this theory plays fairly well in my opinion is that historical events tend to follow the same patterns. To me, the validity of all end times prophesy including John The Revelator’s book are becoming clearer every day as they currently unfold. Scheming and planning are absolutely certain to prove totally ineffective, and Faith is the only thing that will do anyone any good when the poop all hits the fan.

  • EightBits

    To the ‘christian’ dogma believers, understand that all of the religions believe that their version of the world the universe and spiritual beliefs are the only and correct one that should dictate how the world should be. That should be a clue right there!
    Also, understand that the bible suffers a severe factual deficit on facts. Just because one ‘believes’ in something does not equate to facts.
    Keep in mind, freedom of Religion is NOT freedom to govern.

  • EightBits

    Why not have a ban on clips and magazines period?
    You can still have your gun(s), that is what the second amendment is about. These lethal weapons could be manufactured with built in clips of a fixed size. There is no need I can visualize that the ability to have an all most endless supply of ammunition. This would not interfere with discharging firearms at a range and it certainly should not be a problem with hunters.

    I understand some of those who think they want to or need to defend themselves against the ‘government’. I guess some of these folks believe that the President is some how going to get UN soldiers from Kenya (of course)
    to come to the US straddling drones and attack citizens. LOL. No shortage of feeble minded folks.

  • aadila

    Sam, MRJ’s point seems to be the scriptures were compiled, redacted, rewritten, translated, elided, edited, lost, overlooked, added too, subtracted from, destroyed, hidden, censored, and burned at various times throughout the history of Christianity, by people who were at times overtly trying to assert political authority and preserve power. Just take a look at what happened to the Gospel of Thomas, or the Gospel of Mary Magdelene, which would have undermined the liturgical authority of the Pope and were deemed heretical. There are some great teachings in those gospels.

    This does not go for just Christianity: there are very few religious scriptures in any tradition — if any — that have complete historical and scientific accuracy. The oldest Buddhist scriptures, for example, were written over a hundred years after Gautama died, and even longer since he uttered the words. The point, I think, is that a lot of religious fanatacism is based on shifting sands, not the solid rock. And of course, that religion is an expedient tool of political manipulation, and always has been.

  • concernedcitizen

    @Reynardine, the Glock typo is funny and I know exactly how you feel about spell check.

  • Gregory

    Fair enough but I would suggest that other Christian sects read that book differently than your own sect. For instance, Roman Catholics have a very different view of the Revelation of John, ranging from prophetic to largely symbolic. Are they “Christian” enough for you? Or like MRJ, do they need to get right with Jesus to save their hides?

    Of course, I thought it was their immortal souls that they needed to worry about, rather than the leathery hides that wrap their mortal bodies, but hey, you are the expert here.

  • Reynardine

    Actually, Rachel, that wasn’t me, but point well taken.

  • Sam Molloy

    MRJ, it’s the Book of Revelation, singular. Perhaps I shouldn’t tell you that so people can more easily notice that you do not know squat about the study of Escatology, or “end times”. However fair is fair, and to possibly save your hide you should study ALL the references, like in Daniel, and some of the words in red about Israel surrounded by it’s enemies. Anything you see on TV from anybody should be noted as reference only and taken with a large shaker of salt. But you should be thinking about it, if only as a skeptical, secular Futurist to start with.

  • Rachel


    Funny you should mention Christian television, “NWO,” and the belief in an impending Apocalypse.

    This past week, I have been debating an old high school classmate about conspiracy theories. Turns out, this man is an avid follower of the teachings of Irv Baxter of the Endtime Ministries ( Sad that people who purported to be “A man of God” is fueling the radical ideologies of so many of our friends and loved ones on the Christian Right.

  • MRJ

    Two police officers attacked.
    When are the police going to understand what the FBI has already determined: that these “NWO” Anti-Government conspiracy nuts are very, very dangerous?
    When are the police, particularly police in small towns, going to understand that Sovereigns are not “special interest groups” (as stated by a local officer) when they are calling for an end to Federal oversight to just about everything, or even pretending to be from some made up tribe or group (Little Pembina Band/Tribe) and issuing their own driver’s licenses, faking auto registration and plates, SLAPP litigations costing the taxpayer, stockpiling weapons, using HAM or citizens band radio to organize (let alone the Internet), and are literally engaged in subversive small cell organizing and para-military activities glorifying murder as an answer to unemployment, the price of gasoline or propane, the price of groceries, and the fact that that they cannot answer violently any questioning of their dogma, or their racism?
    Even the fact that they make these types of things (plates, registrations, etc….) as camouflage in daily activities so that they are not immediately stopped for having no plates or registration on their vehicles proves they are committing illegal acts in order to evade prosecution from a Government they pretend has no jurisdiction….
    Now, the article does not state racism as such, but, frankly, scratch “NWO” and you find “ZOG/JOG”.
    Scratch “truther” or other such, and you find “ZOG/JOG/NWO”.
    Sorry, preaching to the choir.
    Funny, just a week or so ago I watched a local Christian TV program about the “NWO”, and the coming apocalypse or the “return”.
    They attributed the term “New World Order” to, of all people, Franklin Delano in/at Yalta.
    Hmmmmm… seems to me that was actually first spouted to the millions on the airwaves by an Austrian Corporal at Nuremburg in 1936 or thereabouts, repeatedly, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
    They went on to “explain” that the lion, the bear, and the horned beast of the Anti-Christ were, respectively, Great Britain, the USSR, and branches of the US Federal Government, the Supreme Court, etc..
    Allll of this back dropped by a picture of the UN building in New York.
    Allll of this as an exhortation for “true” Christians to deny and defy any Governmental authority on this plane of existence as there was only One True Authority, etc..
    “Sovereign Rights” was the mainstay of this.
    It’s interesting hearing how this term is being used by mid-western Christian broadcasting stations, and the preponderance of their “evidence” that suggests that the Apocalypse will happen in a day or so.

    Has anybody ever mentioned to them that Revelations was first introduced in the 1500s, or thereabouts, and that you cannot really attribute any of the words in the red letters as defining any type of suffering for anyone else for any reason for any length of time…: that in the red letters we are extolled to non-violence and to give Caesar his due?

  • Reynardine

    Glocks, dammit. I hate this autocorrect.

    In short, though, no sane law officer wants these things in circulation.

  • Reynardine

    Paul: this is only anecdotal evidence, but my co-author, Joe Sanchez, was in the trenches as a NYPD officer in the Seventies and early Eighties. At that time, standard police issue was a .38 revolver. These had to be replaced with Flocks and special SWAT teams trained exactly because of the proliferation of assault and combat type weapons. The last kind of call any officer wants to answer is one that starts out as a routine domestic and turns out to be one of these guys, armed to the teeth with such weapons, and frequently sitting up over the festering corpse of his wife. No, that’s next to the last call any officer wants to answer. The last one is Sandy Hook.

  • paul bolden

    Does anyone know if most law enforcement officers are for or against the proprosed assault weapons band. Have there been any studios? Just curious.

  • Sharon

    Another NUT with a gun. He should help the “cause” against the NRA, which is a good thing…eventually, the NRA will have to back off its idiotic agenda.

  • Kiwiwriter

    He may have had no “history” of mental illness, but he seems to have been stewing with steady and growing fury over various non-existent injustices, and hoped to die in an act of bravado, martyrdom, and despair.

    Unfortunately, in doing so, he has left a couple of police officers wounded, needlessly.

  • concernedcitizen

    “James L. Gilkerson had a library of antigovernment, homemade munitions and firearms books in his vehicle — along with an AK-47 assault rifle, five loaded 40-round magazines for the weapon, knives, five pounds of gunpowder and a black mask and gloves, authorities say. He was unemployed, spent his time caring for his ill mother, and apparently had no history of mental illness.”

    This is a very unhealthy scenario, a 42 year old man needs more to his life than what this guy had going on. It appears to me to be a formula that would drive someone nuts.

    Did anyone find out if the mother had anti-government views?

    Something must have spawned the seed of thought for this man to go as far as building up his own arsenal.

  • Reynardine

    Yep. Second Amendment remedies for all.

  • Sam Molloy

    Obviously a good argument for banning Assault Rifles and /or big clips. The one thing that redeems responsible gun owners here is a bystander offering to help. “I have a pistol” is heard at about the 36 second point. “Are you OK?” At about the 41.