A member of the far-right “Boogaloo” movement allegedly opened fire on a Minneapolis Police building in May at the height of protests over the killing of George Floyd, according to federal charges announced Friday.
Ivan Hunter, 26, is accused of one count of riot for his alleged participation in the protests, during which prosecutors say he fired 13 rounds from a semi-automatic rifle into the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct. Hunter is also accused of close contact with a man accused of two murders earlier this year. Both are self-described members of the “Boogaloo” movement, a loosely affiliated far-right and libertarian coalition that preaches insurrectionary violence in the hopes of setting off a civil war.
It was not immediately clear whether Hunter had an attorney.
Boogaloo members have had a visible and sustained presence at racial justice protests this year. Some claimed to support Black Lives Matter, or at least oppose police, a pervasive villain in Boogaloo circles. In private, some Boogaloo groups were more open about hoping to co-opt the protests to boost their own message: a Boogaloo trio arrested in Nevada earlier this year is accused of trying to spark violence at a Black Lives Matter protest in order to incite unrest.
According to a criminal complaint, Hunter and other members of his Boogaloo group traveled to the Minneapolis protests, in part to rally their cause. “Lock and load boys. Boog flags are in the air, and the national network is going off,” one member of the group allegedly posted to social media ahead of the trip. Some of the men allegedly traveled far for the event; Hunter is from Texas.
At least two other members of that crew, Michael Solomon and Benjamin Teeter, were arrested earlier this year for a weird plot to overthrow the government that allegedly involved attempting to provide aid to the foreign extremist group Hamas. Those arrests are among more than two-dozen recent busts on Boogaloos, including some accused of fomenting a plot foiled by state and federal law enforcement to kidnap or possibly even kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this month.
While in Minneapolis on May 27, Hunter allegedly helped set the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building on fire and shot 13 rounds into it before running off shouting, “Justice for Floyd,” an act said to be captured on camera. Other protesters are believed to have been in the building at the time, the criminal complaint alleges.
Hunter allegedly bragged about the incident on Facebook, posting, “I’ve burned police stations with black panthers in Minneapolis.” In a private message, he allegedly told a friend that “My mom would call the fbi if she knew what I do and at the level I'm at w[ith] it."
An often-murky set of characters has been accused of property damage following Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis in May. Four men were previously charged for allegedly helping set the city’s Third Precinct building on fire, a blaze that was cheered by some protesters and disavowed by others. In at least one case, an associate of a white supremacist group is accused of breaking windows near the protests while dressed in black in an apparent attempt to make protesters look bad.
That man, Mitchell Carlson, was identified in a search warrant, and has not yet been accused of a crime. The search warrant for Carlson, filed in July, sought cell phone tower data about his whereabouts, indicating an active and high-tech effort to identify people accused of property damage during the protests.
The Boogaloo movement began coalescing online in late 2019. Hunter and Steven Carrillo, an Air Force sergeant accused of murdering two law enforcement officers, were apparently early members of the scene. The criminal complaint against Hunter indicates the pair were in communication by at least December.
On March 14, Hunter allegedly messaged Carrillo to “start drafting that op [operation]. The one we talked about in Decembre. I’ma green light some shit.”
The two stayed in contact even after Carrillo allegedly carried out his first murder, on May 29, of a federal security officer in California.
“Go go go,” Hunter allegedly messaged Carrillo four hours after the killing, which took place two days after Hunter allegedly fired into the police station. Carrillo responded with a question mark.
“Boog,” Hunter clarified. “Boog” or “boogaloo” is also the name of the group’s prophesied civil war.
“Did,” Carrillo responded.
Carrillo: “Currently in hide mode”
Hunter: “Go for police buildings”
Carrillo: “I did better lol.”
While Carrillo was on the run, he allegedly sent Hunter money. On June 6, Carrillo was accused of shooting and killing a second police officer and arrested after a car chase during which he reportedly wrote “boog” on the hood of a car in blood.
Hunter allegedly told an FBI source that he and Carrillo were founding members of a Boogaloo group called the “Happy Friends Group,” which encouraged violence if police tried to take their guns. After another Boogaloo adherent’s arrest, Hunter allegedly said he would start “killing people” in retaliation.
On his Twitter, which was still live on Friday, Hunter had previously pushed back on allegations that the Boogaloo movement was violent.
“We are not violent Extremists, we are for liberty and freedom from oppression,” read a June post he retweeted.