New Boston, TX – A would-be assassin affiliated with the “boogaloo” movement who livestreamed himself driving around hunting for police officers was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Friday.
Members of the boogaloo movement are anti-government extremists who want to engage in a civil war called the “boogaloo” in which they overthrow the U.S. government.
So-called “Boogaloo Bois” often wish to kill law enforcement officers for perceived acts of tyranny, or for acts which have not actually happened, but exist only in their imagination as part of a dystopian future which they believe the U.S. is headed toward.
The jury also determined Swenson violated the Texas Hate Crimes Act by targeting law enforcement officers, resulting in a sentencing enhancement on the terroristic threatening charge he pleaded guilty to earlier in the week.
Swenson pleaded guilty to felony evading arrest and the terroristic threatening counts on Sept. 15, the Texarkana Gazette reported.
The anti-government extremist broadcasted his April 11, 2020 hunt for random police officers on Facebook, declaring he planned to search out an officer who was alone so he could carry out his plan to “ambush and execute” them, according to the Texarkana Gazette.
Concerned citizens saw the live feed alerted police that Swenson was driving around Texarkana searching for them.
Texarkana Texas Police Department Officer Jonathan Price testified during Swenson’s trial that he and the rest of the law enforcement officers working in Bowie County that day were aware of the video and were keeping an eye out for the suspect, the Texarkana Gazette reported.
Officer Price said he was listening to the footage while parked on St. Michael’s drive when he suddenly heard Swenson say he had “found his prey.”
“I realized he was talking about me,” Officer Price testified, according to the paper. “I put the car in drive and took off. I didn’t want to get ambushed by myself.”
Swenson then tried to block the feed’s visual as he spent the next nine minutes searching for Officer Price, according to prosecutors.
Despite his attempts to block the camera, it still caught brief glimpses of the roadway, allowing investigators to recognize his location, the Texarkana Gazette reported.
Officers determined the suspect was driving a black, late-model Chevrolet pickup near St. Michael Drive, just west of Interstate 369, TXK Today reported.
Multiple officers responded to the area and spotted the suspect vehicle as it drove into a Sonic parking lot on Kings Highway.
But when police activated their emergency lights, Swenson stomped on the accelerator and sped off towards the town of Redlick, TXK Today reported.
An officer who anticipated his likely escape route was able to deploy a tire-deflating device in the area of Leary Road and Shiloh Road.
The device destroyed one of the suspect’s tires, but he continued to flee from police.
Swenson ultimately brought his truck to a stop on Highway 82 in Hooks, but refused to comply with officers’ commands to exit his vehicle, TXK Today reported.
He blared music from the truck as he sat inside it for nearly a half hour, then ultimately surrendered without further incident.
Swenson was wearing a ballistic vest when he was arrested, and investigators located a 12-gauge shotgun, two pistols, 156 rounds of ammunition, and a handmade sword inside his truck, the Texarkana Gazette reported.
During the trial, Homeland Security Special Agent Gregory Harry testified Swenson planned to shoot a police officer and to then decapitate him using his sword, according to the Associated Press.
Swenson testified that he planned to commit suicide by cop during the incident and claimed his memory of the night was fuzzy because of his drug use, the Texarkana Gazette reported.
He was also asked about a message he sent to a social media contact ahead of the thwarted attack, in which he detailed what his last words to whichever officer he ended up killing would be.
“His name was Duncan Lemp,” Swenson planned to tell his victim, according to the message.
Lemp, 21, was also associated with the boogaloo exttremists, the Texarkana Gazette reported.
He was fatally shot by police in March of 2020 after officers raided his booby-trapped home during an illegal firearms possession investigation.
During his testimony, Swenson claimed the charges against him were “overblown” and complained the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local police were just trying to make an example out of him, the Texarkana Gazette reported.
First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp told the jury Swenson was a “police-hating maniac” who only surrendered after being outsmarted by the 27 police officers who surrounded him, thwarting his intended murder spree.
“This was a game to him,” Crisp told the jury. “Listen to him shouting ‘whoo-hoo’ on the live feed.”
The prosecutor said the video struck fear in the officers who were trying to keep the county safe that day.
“They were afraid. They had targets on their backs,” Crisp said, according to the Texarkana Gazette. “And they didn’t know that in February [of 2020] he said he’d shoot cops until their bodies stopped twitching.”
Swenson blew off that comment during his testimony, arguing that he has said “a lot of controversial things” on social media in the past.
He faced five to 99 years in prison as a result of his conviction.
Swenson was ultimately sentenced to 50 years behind bars on the attempted murder charge, 10 years for evading arrest, and 20 years for terroristic threatening with a hate crime enhancement, and was ordered to pay a total fine of $30,000, the Associated Press reported.
The sentences will run concurrently.