An Oregon man in military camouflage threatened to kill federal and state law enforcement agents when he was stopped Monday on suspicion of DUI while on his way to join anti-government protesters occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
In a confrontation recorded on police video, the man, identified as Joseph Arthur Stetson, 54, of Woodburn, was stopped shortly before noon (3 p.m. ET) at Hines Food Market in South Hines, the Harney County Sheriff's Office said.
In the 10-minute video, the encounter starts out politely enough, with Stetson and a state trooper, who wasn't identified, calling each other "sir." Stetson was armed with a firearm, which turned out to be a pellet gun, authorities said.
Stetson tells the trooper he's a retired colonel in the U.S. military who served in Central America in 1980 — he boasts twice that his service record was "sealed by Ronald Reagan" — and that he's on his way to serve as a bodyguard for protesters led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who've occupied the land refuge since the beginning of the year.
But after about five minutes, as troopers and local officers move to place him under arrest, Stetson becomes agitated, referring to President Barack Obama and officers on the scene as "Nazis" in a tirade spiked with crude expletives.
"I'll kill all of you," Stetson can be heard saying on the video.
When the remarkably restrained state trooper advises him that "I don't think you want to do that," Stetson replies, "If I come out of jail I'm going to kill you."
Eventually, it took multiple officers to wrestle Stetson — who's listed in police records as 6 feet tall and weighing 235 pounds — into a police vehicle.
Authorities said he kicked the vehicle so violently during the struggle that one of its doors was significantly damaged.
Stetson was being held on $5,000 bail Monday night in the Harney County jail on initial charges of resisting arrest, according to jail records.
State prison records show that Stetson pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and was convicted of menacing in a 2009 incident in which he destroyed a mobile home in Portland in what authorities called a domestic rampage.
Several other homes in the area were evacuated before Stetson surrendered after a standoff with Washington County sheriff's deputies. At the time, he was sentenced to 75 days in jail and two years of probation, according to state records.