A Georgia man with ties to a white supremacist group has been arrested after police said he was found with the deadly poison ricin. Only a few salt-sized grains of ricin can kill a person.
William Christopher Gibbs, 27, was arrested by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office last week and charged with reckless conduct, Fox 5 Atlanta reports.
Gibbs identifies himself on his Facebook page as a member of the Georgia Church Of Creativity, a neo-Nazi group.
The Atlanta-based FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office are continuing to investigate the incident and further charges could be filed.
Police, including FBI agents, swarmed Gibbs’ Morganton, Georgia, neighborhood last week, the news station reports. A resident said he saw about 100 officers, including some in HAZMAT suits, conducting the raid. They removed evidence from the home and Gibbs’ car.
“All of the sudden a whole host of law enforcement vehicles showed up in our parking lot, somewhere between 30 to 40 vehicles. And around 100 law enforcement individuals,” Morganton Mayor Mike England told Fox 5 Atlanta.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a statement after the raid began.
“We have identified no evidence that any poisonous or toxic substances have been dispersed or that the public is at risk, and we are coordinating with the 4th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team of the Army National Guard and the Cherokee County Fire Department to ensure that the area is safe,” U.S. Attorney John Horn said.
Here’s what you need to know about William Christopher Gibbs and the investigation:
1. Gibbs ‘Got Scared’ & Went to the Hospital After Getting a Small Amount of Ricin on His Hands, Police Say
William Christopher Gibbs showed up at a local hospital in Fannin County and said he had been exposed to ricin, the sheriff’s office told Fox 5 Atlanta. Gibbs apparently “got scared” after a small amount of the poison got onto his hands while he was experimenting with it, the sheriff told the news station.
He drove himself to the hospital and investigators searched his car there, before later swarming his house.
“It turned out to be Ricin. I think it was all contained inside his vehicle, just a small amount of something I think he had been experimenting with,” Sheriff Dane Kirby said. “It was inside his vehicle and somehow he claimed he had exposed himself to what he made, got scared, and went to the hospital.”
Ricin is found a naturally occurring lectin found in castor seeds, but an accidental exposure is not likely, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“It would take a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people,” the CDC website states. “Unintentional exposure to ricin is highly unlikely, except through the ingestion of castor beans.”
2. He Calls Himself a ‘White Racial Loyalist’ on His Facebook Page, Which Includes References to a ‘Racial Holy War’
Gibbs’ Facebook profile is filled with racist and white supremacist memes, swastikas, references to the Georgia Church of Creativity and photos of him wearing Creativity Alliance clothing and patches.
He describes himself on the page as a “white racial loyalist,” and in his “About Me” section includes the phrase, RaHoWa, which stands for “racial holy war.”
I was born in Bradley TN and rased in the Blue Ridge Moutains of GA. I currently live in Blue Ridge Ga. I am 6’0 I have Dark Ashhhh : . Blond Hair Green Hazel Eyes Work Full Time I’m stable, independent, a Creator. I’m goal oriented, loyal, respectable, maintained, healthy, hard working, conservative, educated, and a salubrious Man.
I don’t smoke drink or do drugs. I have a Holistic Diet. I enjoy reading literature the outdoors, sports, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, climbing, repelling, jogging, running, and exercising. I don’t mind heights. I’m trained in wilderness survival. I was raised in the southern country of United States of America. I have hiked across two states Fl and Tn. I was raised in a southern baptist church bible belt. Where the only acceptances are Judaic Religion. I hold myself to a high standard. I’m always mind-set on improvement and prosperity for myself and for my next generation to be successful.
His page also includes references to the Hells Angels and other outlaw groups.
He has posted memes including one saying “White Lives Matter,” and another saying “100 years from now when someone finds one of these trees thay will know that there was once a White Race.”
Gibbs is also an active member of the Creativity Alliance’s online forums. The Alliance includes the Georgia Church of Creativity he claims to belong to.
The Alliance’s leader posted information about Gibbs’ arrest on the forum, but closed discussion until “Brother Gibbs” returns.
The administrator did comment, “Bloody idiot,” before shutting down discussion.
3. Gibbs Suffers From Schizophrenia & He Was on Probation at the Time of His Arrest
Gibbs suffers from schizophrenia and other mental illness, his grandmother told police, according to a report obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Along with being charged with reckless conduct, Gibbs was also held on probation violations, according to police.
Details of Gibbs’ criminal record and what led to him being placed on probation were not immediately available. He works as a machine operator at Pilgrim’s Pride, a food company, according to his Facebook page.
He says on a white supremacist message board that he has a son.
Gibbs remains in police custody. He is being held at the Fannin County Jail. It is not known when he is set to appear in court, or whether he will be facing further charges, including possible federal offenses.
The FBI is continuing its investigation into the incident.
4. The Creativity Movement Was Founded in the 1970s to Promote the ‘Inherent Superiority & Creativity of the White Race’
The group Gibbs claims to be a member of, the Georgia Church Of Creativity, is tied to the national Creativity Movement, which is also called the Creativity Alliance, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL calls the Creativity Movement a “hardcore white supremacist group” that was founded in the 1970s. It was known for its attempt to use the “guise of religion as a way to promote its racist and anti-Semitic views,” according to the ADL.
The group’s founder, Ben Klassen, established the group in Florida to promote the “inherent superiority and creativity of the white race.”
It has also been known as the Church of the Creator and the World Church of Creator, but has not had much influence since 2003 when its leader, Matt Hale, was arrested for soliciting the murder of a federal judge and sentenced to 40 years in prison, according to the ADL.
The movement is now known as the Creativity Alliance and is lead by Cailen Cambeul, an Australian, the ADL says.
The group’s slogan, seen on patches worn by Gibbs, is “Mobilize nature’s finest.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified the Creativity Alliance as a neo-Nazi group.
According to the SPLC, the group claims “race is our religion,” the “white race is nature’s finest,” and that “racial loyalty is the greatest of all honors, and racial treason is the worst of all crimes.”
5. Two Members of a Georgia Militia Group Were Sentenced to Prison in 2014 for a Plot to Disperse Ricin in Several Cities
Ricin has been called the “poor man’s anthrax,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. It has been popular among far-right, anti-government extremists for several decades:
For decades, extremists have experimented with the biological toxin ricin, a poisonous substance derived from castor beans that is deadly if inhaled or ingested. Both foreign and domestic extremists have found the substance attractive because it is so readly available and easily prepared. Instructions on how to make ricin can be found in many publications, extremist and otherwise, and can also be found on the Internet.
In 2014, two Georgia men, who were members of a militia group, were sentenced to prison for an anti-government plot to make ricin and distribute it in several cities, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Samuel Crump, 71, and Ray Adams, 58, were convicted by a federal jury and were each sentenced to 10 years in prison.