Two men in Missouri are accused of plotting to shoot migrants at the Texas border and broadcasting their plans on TikTok, the FBI said.
Details of the alleged foiled plot — which also is alleged to have included threats of violence in Washington, D.C., and against U.S. Border Patrol agents — come from two criminal complaints filed last Friday in U.S. District Court for Western Missouri.
Bryan C. Perry, 37, of Tennessee, was charged with three counts of making a threat over the phone, unlawfully possessing a firearm and shooting at federal officials.
Jonathan S. O'Dell, 32, of Missouri, was charged with one count of transmitting a threat across state lines and one count of unlawfully possessing a firearm.
Threats on TikTok against migrants, government
According to the affidavits, the FBI got an anonymous tip last month that Perry, using the TikTok account @trashpanda1774, had posted a video threatening an attack against the government.
"I am probably the only one right now that is ready to go to war against this government and I don't mean just talk about it I mean grab my rifle and go to DC and take this country back physically, not sit in a basement and talk about it," Perry said in the video, according to documents.
Perry also posted videos in which he tried to recruit "six likeminded individuals" with guns and gear to take part in his plan, according to an affidavit.
Around the end of last month, O'Dell posted a video to the TikTok account @mobornfromthe90s in which he discussed his plans to "secure the southern border" and leave for Texas on Oct. 4.
In other videos, Perry "discussed traveling with a group to the U.S. border to shoot migrants" and said the Border Patrol was committing treason by allowing undocumented immigrants into the U.S. from Mexico, adding that treason is punishable by death, the affidavits say.
'I'm already practically a terrorist'
The FBI identified Perry as the owner of the @trashpanda1774 TikTok account after information provided by TikTok, Yahoo and AT&T matched the TikTok account to Perry's phone number and email address, according to documents.
Using phone records showing frequent communication between Perry and O'Dell, the FBI identified O'Dell and found his address in Warsaw, Missouri, about 100 miles southeast of Kansas City, the documents said.
Once agents had his address, they matched the exterior of his home with the exterior of a home that appeared in one of Perry's TikTok videos, in which he stated that "a war is coming," according to the documents.
After having staked out the property for a few weeks last month and this month, the affidavits say, agents determined the pair were living together.
On Oct. 2, two days before O'Dell had said the pair would be heading to Texas, an undercover FBI employee spoke to O'Dell on a phone call, according to the affidavit.
During the call, O'Dell "said he wanted to get a group together to secure the border between the United States and Mexico," the affidavit says. O'Dell also offered to trade firearms if the undercover employee could provide amateur radios and night vision goggles.
"I know I’m already practically a terrorist," he is accused of saying. "I know that for a fact because I’m a patriot."
The day after the call, Perry posted to his TikTok account announcing their plans to travel to Texas on Oct. 8, adding that they planned to take "full kits," which, according to the affidavits, often refers to "wearable vest carriers that better enable shooters to carry extra gear including body armor, spare ammunition, and radios."
“We’re not going down there to protest," he said in the video, according to the documents. "We’re not going down there to just be a presence. No, we are going down there and we’re taking this country back.”
Authorities say Perry also said he had called Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office and left a message saying he was a "cofounder of a militia" and "If ya’ll cannot take care of this border and shut it down then we will be forced to come in and do it ourselves.”
O'Dell also told the governor's office he was coming, according to the affidavit.
Abbott's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In an Oct. 4 phone call O'Dell told the undercover FBI agent that “I don’t expect a good outcome from us going down there” and that it will be “kill or be killed," according to the affidavits, which added that he said he feared they would go through all 2,000 rounds of ammunition they planned to take.
Shots fired at the FBI
When the FBI executed a search warrant at O’Dell’s home on Oct. 7, Perry began shooting at the agents and later admitted it to a special agent, according to the affidavit.
Agents estimated Perry fired eight or nine rounds at them, several of which hit their car.
Authorities said they later found a shotgun and an AR-15 in the house. In an interview, O’Dell told agents the shotgun was his and admitted he was not supposed to have it, according to the affidavit. Perry told investigators the AR-15 was his, documents say.
O’Dell and Perry are forbidden to possess firearms, O’Dell because of a condition of his release on bond and an order of protection filed against him last March, according to the affidavits, and Perry because of a 2005 conviction for aggravated robbery, for which he served more than a year in prison.