Various media are reporting that a 45-year-old Florida man, Jerry Kane, and his 16-year-old son, Joe, were killed by police at the end of a police search that began with the slaying of two police officers on I-40 in West Memphis. State Police have not revealed identities yet. The older man is said to have had a business advising people how to avoid mortgage foreclosures.
The Commercial Appeal story linked above quotes the older man's common-law wife as identifying the two and disputing any connection with Aryan Nation activities, despite a linkage of the van to a previous owner with such ties. She said Kane traveled with an AK-47 because he liked to take it to local shooting ranges. The CA article includes a link to an interview with Kane about a recent runin with police on a New Mexico traffic stop (he referred to them as Nazis.)
Friends have also posted news of his death on his personal website. You can access his own page on that website using the password "makeme." This part of the page has been taken down.
There are many clips of Kane on YouTube delivering talks on fighting foreclosures. The Commerical Appeal noted:
In a YouTube video purported to be from an Aug. 2, 2009, all-day seminar in Fontana, Calif., Jerry Kane discusses his views on violence after a question about a “rogue” IRS agent.
“Violence doesn’t solve anything, OK. It’s not violence that we’re after. The Bible even tells us that if you’re going to go and make war against somebody, you have to have to kill their sheep and their goats and their chickens and their babies and their wives. OK? You have to kill them all. So what we’re after here is not fighting, it’s conquering. I don’t want to have to kill anybody, but if they keep messing with me, that’s what it’s going to have to come out. That’s what it’s going to come down to, is I’m going to have to kill. And if I have to kill one, then I’m not going to be able to stop, I just know it. I mean I have an addictive personality. I haven’t had a drink in 18 years because I can’t handle this shit.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center explores Kane's ties to the Patriot and "redemption" movements (such ideas as one that only gold and silver are real money).
It’s not yet known what connection Kane and his son, Joseph Taylor Kane, may have had to Tabor or Aryan Nations. What is clear, however, is that the elder Kane was involved in a world of Patriot conspiracy theories and had spent much time traveling the country and teaching them to others.
Conflicts between so-called sovereign citizens and law enforcement are common, probably because such people do not believe they need driver’s licenses or vehicle registrations and so are often pulled over. In June 1995, for instance, a Frazeyburg, Ohio, police officer shot and killed Michael Hill, a sovereign citizen activist. Hill tried to shoot the officer after being pulled over.
Here's Memphis TV video of the aftermath of the final shootout.
UPDATE: The State Police has confirmed the identities, but is saying little else. See jump.
The Anti-Defamation League has also taken note of Kane's ties to anti-government movements.
A suspect in the shooting deaths of two West Memphis, Arkansas police officers was a member of an extreme anti-government movement, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Jerry Kane, 44, was part of the sovereign citizen movement – an extreme right-wing movement that believes that virtually all existing government in the United States is illegitimate and which seeks to “restore” an idealized, minimalist government that never actually existed.
Kane was allegedly involved in a May 20 shooting during a traffic stop that left two police officers dead and two seriously wounded. The other suspect in the shooting has been identified as Kane’s teenage son, Joseph Kane. Both suspects were later killed in a second shootout with police.
ADL issued the following statement:
The deaths of two police officers in West Memphis, Arkansas represent the latest acts of violence perpetrated by sovereign citizens – a movement which believes the government holds no authority over them. Historically, adherents of the sovereign citizen movement have engaged in a wide array of criminal activities, ranging from issuing threatening documents to carrying out acts of violence.
Loosely organized, the sovereign citizen movement is dominated by “gurus” who travel the country holding seminars to teach their pseudo-legal and pseudo-historical theories. Jerry Kane was one such sovereign citizen “guru;” at the time of the shootouts he was apparently returning from a seminar he conducted in Las Vegas.
If Jerry Kane is proven responsible for these tragic murders, it would be a new page in the same old book for the sovereign citizens, who have assaulted or killed a number of law enforcement officials in the past 20 years, especially during traffic stops.
According to ADL, Kane’s specialty was an arcane sovereign citizen theory called “Redemption,” which provides formulas that claim to be able to extricate people from almost any sort of trouble, from financial debts to traffic tickets. From 2003-2006, a popular “Redemption” tactic was to assert the ability to eliminate people’s mortgages. The tactic picked up again in the wake of the recent housing crisis; Kane’s seminars emphasized this mortgage angle.
Both the sovereign citizen and militia movement have been growing in number and activity in the past two years. In April 2010, ADL warned about the growth of right-wing, anti-government extremist movements and the possibility of violent confrontations with authorities by such groups and individuals.
Prior to this latest incident, 19 law enforcement officers around the country had been killed by right-wing extremists during the period 2001-2010.
STATE POLICE STATEMENT
The Arkansas State Police has received information from the State Crime Laboratory identifying two men who were killed during an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers yesterday (May 20, 2010) at West Memphis.
The individuals are a father and son identified as:
1.) Jerry R. Kane, Jr., (DOB) 12/04/1964, of Forest, Ohio
2.) Joseph T. Kane, (believed to be 16 years-old) (unknown city of residence)
The investigation of the shooting incidents that left two West Memphis police officers dead and two Crittenden County sheriff’s department personnel wounded is continuing. There will be no further statement with regard to the investigation until the investigative file is officially closed.