To many of those who knew him, Buford O'Neal Furrow Jr. was an average fellow — so average, in fact, that he simply blended in. But Furrow never did seem to feel as if he fit in. From his taunt-filled school days to his time in college and after, he consistently failed to make his mark, remaining at a distance from the world around him.
In early August, Furrow finally succeeded in searing his name onto the public consciousness. He now faces a federal murder charge and five state attempted murder charges after allegedly shooting three children and two adults at the North Valley Jewish Community Center and then going on to slay postal worker Joseph Santos Ileto.
"I'm the one who killed the kids," Furrow reportedly told FBI agents in Las Vegas, after taking an $800-plus cab ride there from Los Angeles. He was apparently unaware of the fact that none of the 80 shots fired into the Jewish center had caused a fatality.
The day after his surrender, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that Furrow had been, in 1995, an official of the security force of the Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi group headquartered in Idaho.
The Center also reported that in the same year Furrow had married Debra Mathews, widow of Bob Mathews. Bob Mathews founded The Order, a group that robbed $4 million and murdered two people in 1983 and 1984.
As a member of Aryan Nations, Furrow was an adherent of the racist and anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology. Evidence that he maintained those beliefs at the time of the attacks was found in the form of a book in his van — War Cycles, Peace Cycles — after his initial escape.
The book is by Identity ideologue Richard Kelly Hoskins, who also wrote a key tract on the so-called Phineas Priesthood. Phineas priests are those who feel called directly by God to engage in some terrorist act.
Furrow reportedly told officials that his alleged attacks were "a wake-up call to America to kill Jews."