White supremacist Augustus Sol Invictus allegedly kidnapped his wife at gunpoint in front of their children and forced her to travel across state lines, according to police records.
Invictus, who legally changed his name from Austin Gillespie, was arrested Monday in Florida on counts of kidnapping, aggravated domestic violence, and possession of a firearm during a crime. The incident began in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on Dec. 12, when he allegedly put a gun to his wife’s head and forced her to travel to Florida with him. She was later able to escape back to South Carolina, where she spoke with police.
Invictus is a prominent white supremacist and was a speaker at 2017’s deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is also a lawyer and failed political candidate, and has been involved in arranging legal defense for other members of the movement. He has previously been accused of domestic violence, the Huffington Post reported in 2017, but never criminally charged.
That changed last month, according to a police report reviewed by The Daily Beast.
In an interview with police, Invictus’ wife told them “Augustus held a gun to her head and forced her to go with him to Jacksonville, FL. This incident took place in the presence of their children,” on December 12. After arriving in Florida, she “was able to separate herself from her husband and escape back to Rock Hill with their children.”
It is unclear how long she was allegedly held in Florida, and whether her children were with her at the time. Her interview with police took place Dec. 22.
Invictus appears to have remained in Florida, where he was arrested as an “out of state fugitive,” journalist Nick Martin reported.
Police told the Associated Press that Invictus was spotted at a relative’s home in Brevard County, Florida, and was arrested at a nearby gym.
Invictus has been accused of multiple violent incidents. In 2014, a roommate told Orlando police that Invictus had pointed a gun at him. Invictus claimed he thought the roommate was an intruder, according to a police report reviewed by the Huffington Post.
In 2016, one of Invictus’ exes told police he had battered her multiple times. She did not report those incidents but eventually went to police after Invictus allegedly threatened to burn her belongings and “shoot her on the spot.” He was not charged in the incident.
He also allegedly entered an “intimate relationship” with a high school senior who joined a debate team he coached. Invictus abused her over several years, she told police. In one incident, he allegedly slapped and punched her in the head and strangled her. In another, he allegedly punched her, dragged her into a closet by her hair, and strangled her until she lost consciousness. When she awoke, Invictus was allegedly holding a gun to her head and ordered her to “tell me why I shouldn’t kill you right now.” The woman also told police of alleged sexual violence, and a calendar event titled “annihilate [the woman’s name]” in which Invictus implied he would expose her personal information.
Invictus threatened defamation lawsuits against the woman and her friend Alexandria Brown after she reported him to police. Brown told the Huffington Post that she feared retaliation from Invictus, and eventually signed a statement acknowledging that she hadn’t witnessed the incidents firsthand. “I wish I hadn’t signed the retraction, because it was used to imply [the victim’s] narrative was fabricated, but I don’t actually have any reason to believe she is lying,” she said.
Brown told The Daily Beast that Invictus' arrest brought relief, alongside new anxieties.
"I am relieved, vindicated, heartbroken, and afraid of further retaliation. Some of his followers are rumoring that I somehow coordinated this with the FBI, and I have already quite literally almost died from what retaliation I have experienced so far. I am worried that if he is given a short sentence, it will simply make him angrier and more dangerous and imminently free to terrorize people further," she said, noting that the prison system would likely not help rehabilitate him.
Police recommended charges of aggravated battery and domestic battery against Invictus after Brown's friend reported him but did not actually file the charges after his accuser failed to meet with a prosecutor.
In an interview with an openly fascist show, Invictus denounced women’s right to vote.
Invictus has pointed to his multiple Hispanic ex-partners to claim that he is not racist despite his extensive involvement in the white supremacist movement, where he has acted as an attorney multiple times. Last year, Invictus founded a legal defense fund aimed at aiding members of the fascist Rise Above Movement. Nevertheless, his involvement with women of color has made him unwelcome in some sectors of the far-right internet, where some racists mocked his arrest this week.
Invictus’ last brush with headlines came during a doomed Senate bid in 2015, when he ran as a Libertarian candidate to replace Sen. Marco Rubio. His already-longshot campaign tanked when it was revealed that he sacrificed a goat and drank its blood during a pagan ritual.