Manhunt for Two Antigovernment Extremists
Two months after three antigovernment extremists allegedly murdered a police officer near Cortez, Colo., the search continued for two of them in the red rock canyon country of the Four Corners region.
On May 29, the three, described by officials as survivalists, allegedly stole a water truck for purposes that are still unclear. When officer Dale Claxton tried to stop them in the truck a short time later, he was gunned down, and two other lawmen were injured in the chase that ensued. Some 500 law enforcement officials joined the dragnet, making it one of the West's largest manhunts.
On June 4, near Montezuma, Utah, a sheriff's deputy was shot and wounded during the search, allegedly by fugitive Robert Mason. Mason's camouflage-clad body was found nearby, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. He wore a ski mask, and three pipe bombs lay alongside him.
Mason and Jason McVean, 26, and Alan "Monte" Pilon, 30, are believed to have earlier readied desert bunkers to prepare for "the end of the world."
The Southern Poverty Law Center has learned that at least one of the three men had ties to an underground group, the Four Corners Patriot Militia, which has carried out secret paramilitary training.