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Hooks man indicted for attempted capital murder of a peace officer

by Lynn LaRowe | June 12, 2020 at 6:28 a.m. | Updated June 12, 2020 at 6:38 a.m.
Aaron Swenson

TEXARKANA, Texas - A Hooks, Texas, man suspected of being loyal to the "Boogaloo Bois," an anti-government extremist group, was indicted Thursday for attempted capital murder of a peace officer and other charges.

Aaron Caleb Swenson, 36, is accused of streaming on Facebook Live as he drove the streets of Texarkana, Texas, on a Saturday night in mid-April searching for a police officer to kill, according to a probable cause affidavit. Swenson was indicted Thursday by a Bowie County grand jury for attempted capital murder of a peace officer, attempted murder and terroristic threatening. Swenson's indictment for terroristic threatening includes an enhancement under the Texas Hate Crimes Act.

Swenson's case was scheduled for a bond hearing Thursday morning before 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison. After hearing from First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp, Addison upped Swenson's bail from a total of $85,000 to $1 million.

Swenson had been the subject of a federal warning notice to area law enforcement months before he allegedly armed himself, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and body armor and began "hunting the hunters," Crisp said.

"The evidence is completely overwhelming and completely disturbing," Crisp said during the hearing.

Crisp said statements allegedly made by Swenson about law enforcement include a promise that "tyrants and red coats are going to die tonight."

Local 911 dispatchers received multiple calls alerting police to the live stream April 11. Officers searching for Swenson could hear him say he was looking for "red and blue lights" and that he spoke of "finding his prey" as he passed a patrol car on an Interstate 30 access road.

An officer watching the live feed quickly identified the possible make and model of a late Chevy or GMC pickup by the appearance of an image of the vehicle's dashboard on the Facebook Live stream. As Texarkana, Texas, police closed in, Swenson allegedly led them on a high speed chase. A spike strip was used on Leary Road to deflate one of Swenson's tires but he allegedly continued driving west on U.S. Highway 82 for several miles before finally coming to a stop and placing his hands on the roof of his truck.

"Officers began conducting a felony traffic stop but Swenson would not turn his music down or listen to the verbal commands," the affidavit states. "After approximately 20 minutes of giving verbal commands Swenson decided to step out of the vehicle."

Crisp said her office was contacted by and provided additional information from the FBI about Swenson's ties to "Boogaloo" after search warrants were executed on his home following the April 11 confrontation with Texarkana police. Assistant Public Defender Deborah Moore said Swenson was trying to "commit suicide by cop," argued that he never pulled a weapon, and offered to call Swenson's wife to testify that she is earning minimum pay at a fast food restaurant and can't afford a high bond.

Crisp interjected that a case against Swenson's wife for tampering with evidence is being investigated and that the wife should be read her Miranda rights before giving testimony. Swenson's wife did not testify.

Swenson is currently being held in the Bowie County jail and appeared in court Thursday via video. If convicted of attempted capital murder of a peace officer, Swenson faces five to 99 years or life in prison. Attempted murder, a lesser offense included in Swenson's indictment, is punishable by two to 20 years. Terroristic threatening is typically punishable by two to 10 years in prison though Swenson could face an increased punishment range of up to 20 years because of the hate crime enhancement.


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