Before the fist fight and the knife and the spilled blood, a bare chested neo-Nazi with a large swastika tattooed on his stomach was belting out white power songs on a karaoke machine late Sunday night in a Southern California bar.
In the middle of the music and the mayhem, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s department, was the familiar and distinctive face – to say the least – of Johnathan “Monster” Schmidt, the heavily tattooed neo-Nazi founder of the racist skinhead gang known as Crew 41.
By the end of the night in Lake Elsinore, Schmidt, 29, was probably singing a much different tune: the blues. Once again he was in handcuffs and in serious trouble with the law – arrested and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.
“This isn’t his first rodeo,” sheriff’s Sgt. Linda Hughes told The Press-Enterprise.
Just three months ago, Schmidt faced up to 50 years in prison if convicted of a brutal assault in Nebraska last summer that left a man bleeding in the street of a small college town, his skull fractured. Schmidt, who is covered in tattoos from the top of his shaven head to his face to his stomach inked with a large swastika, was picked out of a photo lineup as the attacker.
Schmidt admitted to punching the man after being “provoked,” but insisted someone else kicked the man in the head. Schmidt said he was the victim of mistaken identity. After deliberating for seven hours over two days, a jury acquitted him of all charges.
At the time of the assault last July, Schmidt was living in Nebraska where six months earlier he started, largely on the Internet, Crew 41, also known as Die Auserwahlten – “the chosen few.”
The crew has chapters in several states. Two members of the crew’s South Carolina chapter – a man and wife – were arrested and charged with double homicide around the same time Schmidt was being arrested for assault in Nebraska.
After his acquittal, Schmidt packed his bags and moved his young family back to his native Southern California, vowing on social media to stay out of trouble for the sake of his beloved newborn daughter.
Apparently, vows are made to be broken.
Sunday night Schmidt was drinking heavily and monopolizing the karaoke machine, according to The Press-Enterprise. He took off his shirt, revealing his swastika-covered stomach, as he sang “white power songs,” Sgt. Hughes told the paper, adding, “Apparently, there’s karaoke for that type of music.”
Schmidt got into a fight with another patron wanting more time on the machine. The karaoke operator broke it up and the tension eased – for a minute or so.
Then Schmidt, the sergeant told the paper, pulled a knife and ran toward the operator, slashing his ear. Schmidt’s wife pulled Schmidt away and they left before deputies arrived.
Schmidt was stopped by deputies in his SUV a short time later and arrested early Monday morning. He was released on $25,000 bond.
Inside the vehicle, deputies found a bloody knife, according to The Press-Enterprise.
On his Facebook page, Schmidt said, “Well this whole thing is blown way the fuck out of proportion. No one talks about me getting my ass kicked or being hit with a pool stick they are just saying I stabbed someone and they are basing that off the fact I had a knife and someone got a couple of stitches in his ear.”
It sounds like Schmidt is already rehearsing his trail testimony. As Sgt. Hughes said, this isn’t his first rodeo.