Correction: We initially reported that Philip Thiessen previously worked with Fairfax PD – he actually worked for the City of Fairfax Police Department.
Taycheedah, WI – A man accused of intentionally slamming his truck into an oncoming motorcyclist allegedly told police he targeted the rider because he believed people who ride Harley Davidsons are “white racists.”
Daniel Navarro, 27, has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide with a hate crime enhancement, first-degree recklessly endangering safety with a hate crime enhancement, and use of a dangerous weapon in the July 3 death of 55-year-old retired Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Special Agent Phillip Thiessen, WJLA reported.
The collision occurred in the area of Taycheedah Way and Winnebago Drive at approximately 6:45 p.m., when Navarro intentionally swerved into the retired agent’s path and slammed into him head-on, WITI reported.
The force of the impact sent the motorcycle flying through the air, police said.
Witnesses were trying to render aid to Agent Thiessen when investigators arrived at the scene, but he had already succumbed to his injuries and was lying dead in the roadway, police said.
In addition to his work with the DCI, Agent Thiessen also previously served with the City Of Fairfax Police Department in Virginia for 26 years, the agency said in a Facebook post on July 4.
The U.S. Marine Corps veteran leaves behind his daughter, two grandchildren, and his sister, according to his obituary.
Investigators said there were no indications that Navarro, who was driving a red 2004 Dodge Dakota pickup, had braked before or after he slammed into Agent Thiessen, WITI reported.
After colliding with the retired agent, the suspect’s pickup crashed into a pole next to the roadway.
Prosecutors said Navarro later confessed that he was “targeting a white person” when he caused the crash.
He allegedly told investigators that he believed he had been “poisoned” by various people over the past 18 months, and said that “Caucasian” people have been making “racist comments through the walls” and driving past his home squealing their tires, WITI reported.
According to court documents, Navarro said that “those who are poisoning him, giving him acid and making racist comments are all Caucasian and targeting him because he is Mexican.”
He allegedly told investigators that he had been “thinking about targeting a white person and killing them with a vehicle earlier that day,” so he decided to target someone riding a motorcycle “because he wanted the person to die,” court documents read.
“He chose a motorcycle instead of a car, because he wanted the driver to die, and not just be injured or paralyzed,” Fond du Lac County Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt said, according to WLUK.
Navarro allegedly noted that “white people drive motorcycles,” and claimed that “the Harley culture is made up of white racists,” WITI reported.
He also blamed President Donald Trump and his supporters for the current “racial climate” in the U.S.
“Navarro said that if President Donald Trump and white people are going to create the world we are living in, he has no choice and that people are going to have to die,” Sheriff Waldschmidt said, according to WLUK.
Investigators said they found absolutely no evidence that Agent Thiessen was linked to any racist behavior or activities, WITI reported.
They also do not believe that he was targeted due to his prior law enforcement career.
According to Sheriff Waldschmidt, Agent Thiessen had been volunteering his time at the Fondy Food Pantry since he retired from DCI two years ago, WLUK reported.
Navarro said he understood that “what he did was wrong,” but that he is looking forward to prison “to be free from his neighbors,” according to court documents.
He is being held on $1 million bond, and is due back in court on July 17, WITI reported.