A believer in the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory allegedly vandalized a prominent Catholic church in Arizona last week in what appears to be the latest violent incident involving a disciple of the conspiracy theory.
QAnon believers base their worldview around anonymous clues posted online by an anonymous character named “Q.” The clues, which echo the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, posit that President Donald Trump and the U.S. military are engaged in an elaborate covert war with a global pedophile cabal made up of top Democrats, financiers, and Hollywood elites.
Timothy Larson, 41, was charged with aggravated criminal damage, burglary, and other charges after the Wednesday attack on Sedona’s Church of the Holy Cross, according to the Red Rock News.
Footage posted to social media by witnesses show a man who Sedona police say is Larson smashing candles and altar displays with a crowbar. Larson also allegedly spray-painted “EVIL” on the ground outside the popular tourist attraction, which is built into a red rock mountain butte.
The church vandalism, which occurred in front of a number of visitors, appears to be the latest instance of violence involving a QAnon believer. Two QAnon fans have been charged with murder in cases apparently prompted by the conspiracy theory, including the slaying of the head of the Gambino crime family.
In June 2018, an armed QAnon believer in an improvised armored truck allegedly shut down a bridge near the Hoover Dam to protest after a Q prediction failed to come true. The FBI has warned that QAnon could potentially inspire domestic terrorism.
As the Sedona vandal left the church, he warned onlookers that “the Catholic church supports human trafficking” and told them to “not support Satanists.” Many QAnon disciples think, without evidence, that the Catholic Church is part of the supposed global child-trafficking conspiracy in cahoots with Democratic Party leaders.
Before leaving the church, Larson left behind business cards emblazoned with a large “Q,” according to police. He also posted to Twitter pictures of the cards, which declares him to be a “badass patriot” and a “human trafficking investigator”—both phrases popular with QAnon fans. Larson allegedly had a large knife and a katana-style sword on him when he was arrested.
The alleged vandal appeared to acknowledge the attack on Twitter after it happened, posting about the church in a tweet that declared “#QAnon Mission Success.” Larson attached what appeared to be a video of him hitting a tether ball with an American flag, with the acronym “MAGA”—a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan—prominently displayed.
Larson prolifically posted about QAnon on Twitter in the lead-up to the vandalism, tweeting the day before the attack that he was working for “Team Q.” In October 2018, he wrote that QAnon “was a major part of my self-actualization.” And in an August 2018 tweet, he called for investigations of some of the most bizarre QAnon claims—including the idea that the nonexistent global cabal communicates by XBox game chat—and listed astrological signs of various liberal Trump critics and media personalities.
Larson was arrested a few hours following the incident after a store clerk called 911. Before his arrest, Larson had purportedly told the clerk he was “investigating human trafficking.”
Sedona police did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Larson couldn’t be reached by The Daily Beast.
Despite the growing number of violent incidents attached to QAnon, the Trump administration invited a number of the conspiracy theory’s promoters to the White House in July for the “Social Media Summit.” In August, a warm-up speaker at a Trump rally used a QAnon slogan during his speech, although he later claimed he didn’t mean it as a signal to QAnon fans.