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An AR-15-owning QAnon acolyte caught with armor-piercing bullets drove from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. on March 3 and told U.S. Capitol Police officers that he was “maybe going to do something crazy stupid tomorrow”—the day followers of the discredited conspiracy theory falsely believed former President Donald Trump would re-assume the presidency, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Mar. 19 in federal court.
Ian Alan Olson, who made the 800-mile trip in a 2016 Subaru festooned with QAnon slogans, told a soldier on duty outside the Capitol that he was going to “test the National Guard tomorrow to see if they were loyal to the people or to the President,” that he was “willing to die to fulfill this mission,” and that his “actions would unite eight billion people,” the complaint says.
If he ended up getting shot by the National Guard, Olson contended, he would know the Guard was loyal to President Joe Biden. If the National Guard didn’t shoot him, Olson claimed he would then know the Guard was loyal to the citizenry. He explained that he would be “taken over by the Spirit of Christ and lead the people to unity,” the complaint states, and that “things can only be resolved by the barrel end of a gun.”
“Central to the QAnon conspiracy theory is the false belief that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles and child-traffickers (allegedly largely comprised of prominent Democratic politicians, so-called ‘Deep State’ government employees, journalists, and Hollywood elite) and that President Trump is secretly working with Q and others to take down the cabal,” says an affidavit attached to the complaint and signed by FBI Special Agent Justin Mosiman of the Milwaukee Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. “Many QAnon adherents (known as ‘Anons’) refer to themselves as ‘digital soldiers’ and believe they are engaged in an epic battle between good and evil and darkness and light. Following the Nov. 3, 2020 election, many prominent QAnon adherents exhorted the ‘Anons’ to ‘trust the plan,’ believing that President-Elect Biden’s victory was illusory and part of a convoluted plan by [an anonymous government official named] Q and others to reveal the crimes of the cabal to the world, resulting in President Trump securing a second term.”
Dozens of people accused of participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot were open QAnon supporters. The alleged insurrectionist known as the “QAnon Shaman,” for one, left a threatening note for Vice President Mike Pence in the Senate chamber. Another QAnon adherent wearing a “Q” T-shirt was seen physically threatening a police officer and hoped to be seen on video so that the QAnon movement would be duly credited with having taken part in the siege.
In Olson’s case, Capitol Police determined he was a danger to himself and others, and admitted him to a D.C. psychiatric hospital. There, Olson was diagnosed with a “brief psychotic disorder,” and discharged on March 5, the complaint says.
Ten days later, Olson allegedly drove to an Army Reserve base in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, in his car, which had Q-related phrases such as, “Trust my plan,” “and “WWG1WGA,” a QAnon motto that stands for “Where we go one, we go all,” spray painted across the doors, hood, roof, rear window, and bumpers.
Driving onto the base, Olson got out of the vehicle, shouted, “This is for America,” and fired an AR-15 style paintball gun at two uniformed reservists standing about 15 yards away, the filing states. After allegedly shooting “two to three” rounds at the soldiers, Olson’s paintball gun apparently jammed. At that point, the reservists—one of whom is described as a law enforcement officer in civilian life—tackled Olson and held him for police.
A search of Olson’s car turned up a gas mask, throwing knives, a police scanner, two-way radios, a taser, and military-style ballistic vest plates, the complaint continues. Officers also found a three-page handwritten manifesto, which contained numerous mentions of Q and “my plan,” according to a detention motion filed by prosecutors.
Olson was booked into the Waukesha County Jail on three misdemeanor state charges: terrorist threats; attempted battery; and disorderly conduct. During processing, Olson volunteered that he had recently returned from Washington, D.C., where he failed to send the “message” he had hoped to convey. According to the complaint, he then said he planned on causing “mass casualty” when he got out, and muttered under his breath, “People will remember my name.”
After refusing to speak to a mental health worker, Olson was released from custody on March 16. His wife consented to a search of their home, where cops found a—very real—AR-15 rifle with a scope, suppressor, and seven magazines loaded with armor-piercing ammunition. Olson’s family told police there were several handguns “still outstanding,” and that they would turn them over to law enforcement.
On March 19, the FBI arrested Olson on two federal charges related to the Army Reserve base incident: assault on United States servicemen on account of service; and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees—both misdemeanors.
He does not yet have an attorney listed in court records, and could not be reached for comment.