Felon, Angry at 'Left-Wing’ Drift, Said to Shoot at Police

A California felon whose mother said he was disgruntled by “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items,” was shot several times and arrested after he allegedly began shooting at highway patrol officers who stopped him for a traffic citation.

Byron Williams, 45, of the central California town of Groveland, shot it out for about 15 minutes with California Highway Patrol officers early on Sunday after they stopped him for traffic violations in his Toyota Tundra on an interstate in Oakland, according to authorities.

Williams is a federal parolee who was released from prison two or three years ago after serving time for a California bank robbery in 2002. He also had earlier convictions in Washington state for assault, property destruction, drunken driving and hit-and-run, the San Jose Mercury News reported. The unemployed carpenter was frustrated at his inability to find work, his mother, Janice Williams, told reporters.

“He’s been upset with the direction the country is going,” she told Sacramento’s News10. “He feels the people of this country are being raped by our government and politicians.” She added that her son blamed politicians for destroying the U.S. economy.

As officers approached Williams’ truck, they said he picked up a handgun and began shooting at them. Officers returned fire and radioed for assistance. Ten officers in all fired at Williams, who also had a rifle and a shotgun.  He was hit several times but was wearing a bulletproof vest and survived. He was hospitalized in stable condition. A bomb squad also detonated a suspicious object found in Williams’ truck. No officers were shot, but two were treated for injuries from flying glass.

Oakland police are investigating the incident. They have not offered a motive for Williams’ alleged actions, but say they are executing search warrants in other cities and looking for possible accomplices.

Williams’ mother said that, unknown to her, her son took her truck and weapons she had legally bought and kept locked in a safe in her house. She told the San Francisco Chronicle she had the guns because “eventually, I think we’re going to be caught up in a revolution.” She added that she had told her son many times that “he didn’t have to be on the front lines” of that revolution.

The shootout is the second time in four months that a man expressing antigovernment views has opened fired on highway patrol officers. In March, Brody James Whitaker fired shots at two Florida Highway Patrol troopers and was arrested two weeks later in Connecticut. Whitaker claimed he was a “sovereign citizen” — part of the larger antigovernment “Patriot” movement — and therefore not subject to laws in Florida or Connecticut. He has been returned to Florida to face charges there.