A search of Justin Olsen's father's home found 10,000 rounds of bullets, camouflage clothing, 15 rifles and 10 semi-automatic pistols.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on August 16, 2019

The FBI has shown how painstaking work can sometimes prevent a probable mass shooting.

Six months ago, FBI agents in the Anchorage division in Alaska looked into an online chat room called iFunny, created as a platform for users to share memes and funny images.

They started to pay particular attention to a user ‘ArmyofChrist’, who wrote a number of posts “supporting mass shootings, and assault and/or targeting of Planned Parenthood,” a non-profit organisation that provides reproductive health care in the US and overseas.

ArmyofChrist was quickly gaining followers. By March, the account had 4,400 subscribers following its updates. The FBI issued a subpoena to iFunny to get access to the corresponding email address for the “ArmyofChrist” account.

ArmyofChrist, in June, got into an online conversation with another iFunny user about the 51-day Waco siege in Texas in 1993, where 76 people died. During the conversation, ArmyofChrist advocated violence. He wrote, “In conclusion, shoot every federal agent on sight.”

That sentence alone prompted FBI officials to contact Google to find the user’s real name. The email address, thearmyofchristiscoming@gmail.com, was registered to Justin Olsen in Boardman, Ohio. The case was sent to the FBI office in Youngstown, Ohio.

On August 6, ArmyofChrist told his followers, “don’t comply with gun laws, stock up on stuff they could ban. In fact, go out of your way to break these laws.” He also mentioned the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which killed 168 people. “Hell, even the Oklahoma City bombing shows that armed resistance is a viable method of political change. There is no legal solution.”

Concerned over the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, the FBI first visited Olsen’s mother’s home in Boardman. Agents were then told he was residing at his father’s house, also in Boardman.

On 7 August, The FBI obtained a search warrant for the home of Olsen’s father to seize all computers, laptops, smartphones and hate-related literature and firearms.

The search found the following:

  • 15 rifles including assault-type rifles, shotguns, plus 10 semi-automatic pistols;
  • 300 rounds of ammunition on the stairway;
  • 10,000 rounds of various ammunition, camouflage clothing, camouflaged backpacks;
  • A large machete was found in the boot of Justin Olsen’s car.

The FBI found Olsen inside his father’s house and arrested him. Agents said when they interviewed Olsen after the arrest, he admitted to making a comment about shooting Federal Agents, telling the FBI it was “only a joke”.

Olsen was given a federal charge of threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer and booked into Mahoning County Jail.