Several people arrested in the “Martyr’s Day” beating of a black man at a Lynnwood, Washington, bar were sporting T-shirts and patches of the racist skinhead group Crew 38, according to recently released court records.
Seven men and a woman, all white, were arrested on suspicion of felony hate crimes and other charges in the attack at the Rec Room Bar and Grill, which took place in the early hours of Dec. 8. The date is considered in some white supremacist circles as “Martyr’s Day,” marking the anniversary of the death of Robert Jay Mathews, who led the neo-Nazi domestic terror group The Order in the early 1980s.
Search warrants made public in recent days in Snohomish County Superior Court made no mention of the anniversary, although the local sheriff’s office said in a news release last week that investigators believe the group was in the area for that very reason. Racist skinheads and other white supremacists celebrate the occasion by making annual pilgrimages to Whidbey Island, Washington, where Mathews was killed during a standoff with the feds in 1984. The bar where the attack took place is about 19 miles from a ferry terminal where passengers can catch a ride to the island.
The search warrants, which were reported on last week by the Everett Herald newspaper, shed new light on the incident, the investigation and the suspects’ apparent ties to hate groups. The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office announced last week that the FBI had joined the investigation into the attack.
The documents said sheriff’s deputies were originally sent to the Rec Room bar when someone called 911 reporting that they heard gun shots and that a group of men were beating up a black man inside. When deputies arrived, they saw several people running to vehicles in the parking lot, but the deputies were unable to stop the vehicles from leaving.
Inside the bar, the deputies quickly discovered there had been no shooting. Instead, they learned that a group of racist skinheads had attacked and beaten the bar’s DJ, who is black. The DJ told deputies that the group had begun trash talking him and trying to touch his equipment, so he asked them to leave. That’s when the group swarmed him and began punching and kicking him, even after he was on the ground.
“We will see you, nigger. It’s over for you,” one of the attackers said to the victim, according to the documents.
By the time the group was finished, the victim was bleeding and in need of medical treatment. One of the deputies wrote in the search warrant that the DJ had cuts on his nose, a swollen left eye and a cut on his left eyeball.
Multiple witnesses at the bar corroborated the DJ’s account, and some said they saw the group of skinheads throwing up Nazi salutes during the attack. The search warrants said an employee of the bar told deputies he tried to break up the violence but was hit in the head with what he thought were brass knuckles.
Eventually, other deputies caught up with one of the vehicles, a white Toyota Tundra pickup truck, that had been seen leaving the parking lot after the attack and arrested six of the suspects. Officers with the Lynnwood Police Department pulled over a second vehicle, described in the court documents only as a Mazda with a Washington license place, and arrested two more suspects.
A third vehicle seen speeding away from the bar — a white Dodge Challenger with an Oregon license plate — has yet to be found. On Monday, Dec. 17, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in an email that detectives think the Challenger “may be related” to the attack “but don’t have any further information.”
Arrest reports for all eight suspects originally listed them as having affiliations with the Aryan Brotherhood (AB), the nation’s largest and most deadly white supremacist prison gang. While the racist skinhead movement does have some ties to AB, the search warrants later specified that five of the eight suspects were repping the attire of Crew 38.
The crew, which is designated as a hate group by the SPLC, is made up of racist skinheads who pledge their support to Hammerskin Nation, an ultraviolent racist skinhead group with chapters throughout the nation. The search warrants said the other three suspects also had clothing or patches associated with other parts of the racist skinhead movement.
Investigators with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office documented the items they seized from each of the suspects as well as tattoos that they said indicate racist beliefs. Here’s what a summary of what appeared in the documents for each suspect. (Phrases in quotes come directly from the records.)
- Guy Albert Miller III, 37, of Tacoma, Washington
- Crew 38 patch
- Cory Thomas Colwell, 34, of Eugene, Oregon
- A shirt described in the documents as a “‘Landfer’ Imperial German Tee-shirt.” The word “Landfer” is a likely misspelling of the German neo-Nazi rock band Landser, one of the world’s most notorious hate music bands.
- “Brotherhood/Blood Honor sweatshirt”
- Three stickers for the hate music band Birthrite, which fellow suspect Travis Condor is a member of
- Crew 38 patch
- Vincent Bradley Nutter, 28, of Bothell, Washington
- “Crew 38 patched jacket”
- The search warrant also said Nutter has the number 14 tattooed on one arm and 88 tattooed on the other, plus a swastika tattooed on the front of his neck. The number 14 represents the white supremacist “14 Words” slogan about securing a future for white children. The slogan was originally coined by one of the members of The Order terror group. The number 88 is code for “Heil Hitler,” with H being the eighth letter of the alphabet.
- Randy Aaron Smith, 38, of Eugene, Oregon
- “Jacket with Crew 38 patch and prospect patch.” A prospect patch would mean someone was accepted as a prospect for full-patch status in Hammerskin Nation.
- Crew 38 T-shirt
- Crew 38 beanie
- Four “Crew 38 business cards”
- “Nazi Swastika Ring”
- In addition, the search warrant said Smith has a stomach tattoo, which was described as “swastika and skin head.”
- Daniel Delbert Dorson, 23, of Corvallis, Oregon
- Crew 38 logo jacket
- Crew 38 T-shirt
- “Crew 38 business card”
- Travis David Condor, 34, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- “Anti Communist Hoodie”
- T-shirt for American Defense Records, a hate music label Condor runs in Pennsylvania
- “Jacket with American Defense Skinhead Patch”
- Two patches described each described as a “Noose patch”
- “Imperial Pendent”
- Leah Nicole Northcraft, 25, of Raleigh, North Carolina
- T-shirt with “Imperial cross”
- Hoodie for the racist skinhead band Skrewdriver
- Additionally, the search warrant said Northcraft had an arm tattoo depicting “a crossed out raccoon.” Investigators wrote: “The reference is consistent with African American hate speech references pertaining to the elimination of “coons” which is a derogatory [term] for African Americans.”
- Nathaniel L. Woodell, 32, of Woodstock, Illinois
- Jacket with “American Defense Skinhead Patch” and “Anti Antifa patch”
- “Double axe patch”
As of Monday, jail records in Snohomish County showed only three of the suspects — Miller, Smith and Dorson — remained behind bars. Miller was being held on $150,000 bond. The other two were held on $100,000 bond. The rest of the suspects had posted bail and been released.