Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but maybe Austin Police Sgt. Adam Johnson was both lucky and good to take down a rifle-armed man who attacked the Austin Police Department, the Mexican Consulate, and a federal courthouse with more than 200 shots fired. Sgt. Johnson was about to stable two police horses when he heard the volley of shots and walked out onto the street, still holding the reins of the two horses in one hand.
He drew and fired one shot, stronghand only, that dropped a homicidal madman 104 yards away.
Three days after the attack on four different downtown buildings, investigators released details which suggest Steve McQuilliams planned a much larger assault on downtown which may have been politically and religiously motivated.
“Hate was in his heart,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. “He is a homegrown American terrorist trying to terrorize our people.”
The gunman who attacked the federal courthouse, the Mexican consulate and the Austin Police Department headquarters was killed by a single shot taken from 312 feet away by mounted patrol Sgt. Adam Johnson who also held the reigns of two horses.
Sgt. Johnson told Chief Art Acevedo that he credits “divine intervention” and that the other officers in the mounted patrol unit who were advancing on the shooter should get the majority of the credit.
Acevedo described Larry Steve McQuilliams as being heavily armed with two “long rifle guns” including a .22 caliber and an AK-47-style weapon. In the rental van he used during the attacks, police found a book titled “Vigilantes of Christendom” as well as multiple propane cans fashioned as Improvised Explosive Devices. Also inside the van, officers found a map with 34 targets, including two downtown churches.
McQuilliams was arrested by Austin Police for the armed robbery of an armored car in 1992, and was in prison until 2000… but blamed immigration instead of his violent criminal past for his inability to find a job.
The book that McQuilliams had in his possession suggests that the criminal was a white nationalist that belonged to an obscure terrorist movement called the Phineas Priesthood.
The attack occurred over a ten-minute period in the early morning hours when the courthouse and consulate were mostly empty. Multi-block areas were shut down while EOD teams diffused the propane IEDs after McQuilliams was shot.
It will take months to repair all damage to the buildings.