A former Marine from Texas with a lengthy felony criminal record was armed with a gun, carrying extra ammunition and wearing tactical gear when he was arrested early Sunday morning while he was on his way to a church to “fulfill what he called a prophecy,” the Seguin Police Department said in a press release.
Officers arrested Tony Albert, a 33-year-old Houston resident, just before 7 a.m. Sunday in the area of 2400 West Kingsbury Street after receiving a call from a citizen reporting a man carrying what was believed to be a firearm, Seguin Police Officer Tanya Brown said in the press release. Officers responded and spotted the “oddly dressed” Albert and took him into custody, according to Brown. He was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of marijuana, Brown said. She said it is not yet clear if Albert planned to carry out a shooting at the church, but said he “could have done that, or he was capable of doing that, because he had a loaded handgun.”
Brown did not say what church Albert was looking for. He is still be interviewed by investigators and more information is expected to be released by police later in the week. “Since we don’t have information about a specific location or church, we want to be cautious, because we don’t want to scare people,” Brown told reporters Sunday at a press conference. “He said that he was headed to a church — which he did not identify the church — and that he was going to fulfill a prophecy. He did not elaborate what that entailed.”
Seguin is located about 35 miles east of San Antonio and 160 miles west of Houston, where Albert lives. He has also lived in Missouri City, Texas.
Here’s what you need to know about Tony Dwayne Albert II:
1. Albert Thought He Was in Another City & Asked a Restaurant Worker, Who Later Tipped Off Police, Where the Nearest Baptist Church Was While ‘Gripping His Gun,’ She Says
An off-duty officer who was in the area of 2400 West Kingsbury Street when the call came in reporting a man with a gun was the first to respond, Seguin Police Department Officer Tanya Brown said in a press release. According to Brown, the officer saw “an oddly dressed male wearing tactical style clothing, a surgical face shield, carrying a loaded firearm and extra ammunition.” Police said he also had a white scarf wrapped around his head.
Brown said, “During the investigation, officers revealed that 33-year-old Tony Albert was allegedly en-route to unidentified church to fulfill what he called a prophecy.” Tony Dwayne Albert II was then taken into custody, according to Brown.
At a press conference Sunday, Brown said Albert believed he was in another city. “I don’t know what ties he has in Seguin or why he’s here but he is not from Seguin. My understanding is that he thought he was in a different city,” she told reporters. She declined to say what city he thought he was in because of the ongoing investigation.
“He never identified a specific church. He did specify or identified a specific city that he thought he was in it was not Seguin,” she said. “Anytime people make threats like this I would say there might be a mental health evaluation. But I can’t say at this point.” Brown said he was taken into custody and transported to jail without incident.
Brianna Jimenez, an 18-year-old worker at Las Mañanitas restaurant in Seguin, told The New York Times that Albert came into the restaurant wearing sunglasses about 6:30 a.m. She said she went to greet him, but he waved her off and went into the bathroom for about 30 minutes. Jimenez told The Times she forgot he was in the bathroom until he came out carrying a backpack and came up to her with a question.
“He asks me ‘Do you know where the nearest Baptist church is at?'” Jimenez told The Times. She said she and her mother pointed him to a church down the road, but he told them he had been to that church and asked for the next nearest one. “He was looking for a church with a fountain in the back. It kind of seemed like he was on a mission to go to that church,” she told the newspaper.
Her mother, Gabriela Jimenez, said Albert came out of the bathroom again wearing a surgical mask that covered his mouth. She then saw he had a gun. “He had it in his hand the whole time. The way he was standing he had it in his right hand and you could not see it until he turned around to walk away,” she told the newspaper. “He seemed calm. He did not give us any attitude.” Jimenez said he twice asked his daughter for a ride to the second church, but she declined. She said when Albert left the restaurant he was “gripping the gun.”
The mother and daughter then locked the doors and hid with other restaurant workers in the kitchen while calling police, according to The Times.
Brown praised the concerned citizen who called in the tip about Albert. She said in a statement, “This morning, the Seguin Police Department is extremely grateful to the citizen who called police. If this subject was not stopped and apprehended the results could have ended differently.”
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said about the incident, “Disaster averted. Great job, Seguin PD!” Several Seguin area residents also praised the police department and the citizen on Facebook in response to the Seguin Police Department post about the arrest.
“Wow, that citizen deserves an award. Thank you to SPD for their quick response,” one person wrote. Another said, “Saved a lot of lives today thank you to the police and citizen.” Another Seguin resident wrote on Facebook, “Had this citizen chosen to not call or look the other way we would be hearing about another senseless killing, Thank you our citizens and our police officers.” And another said, “Great job by the observant citizen that had a feeling something might be wrong. Great job by the Seguin Police Department.”
Brown told reporters, “We’re extremely grateful for them and we know the citizens of Seguin are, regardless of if he thought he was somewhere else. He could have still carried out a shooting or he was capable of doing that since he had a loaded handgun. Not sure exactly what his plan was, but we are glad that somebody called in and we were able to apprehend him and secure him so that our community is safe.” She said it wsa a good reminder for citizens of “see something, say something.”
Jimenez, the restaurant worker who made the 911 call that led to Albert’s arrest, told Fox 7 Austin, “Relieved is the word actually is that it didn’t go as he was planning whatever it is that he thought he was going to do and no one got hurt.”
2. He Has Convictions for Taking a Weapon From a Peace Officer, DUI, Resisting Arrest & Domestic Violence & Once Told Police He Was a Member of the ‘First Church of Cannabis’
Albert, a Houston native who graduated from Alief Elsik High School, was first arrested in 1997 when he was only 12, online court records show. Albert was charged as an adult with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He admitted to the crime in 1998, but was given a deferred adjudication of guilt, meaning the case would be removed from his record if he completed a probation program.
Records show that Albert was not arrested again until 2009. He was charged on June 19, 2009, with driving while intoxicated first offense. He pleaded guilty in 2010 and was given probation. In 2014, he was charged with possession of marijuana and pleaded no contest a year later. He was given probation, a fine and credit for three days he served in jail after his arrest. Albert was arrested in October 2016 by the Houston Police Department on charges of disarming a police officer, a state jail felony, resisting arrest and evading. He was put on a two-year probation program earlier this year as part of that case.
In March 2017, Albert was charged with assault causing bodily injury against a family member. He spent 80 days in jail after pleading guilty. All of the cases occurred in Harris County, Texas, and on at least one occasion, Albert participated in Harris County’s veterans’ court, which is a diversionary program aimed to help provide access to mental health and addictions treatments for veterans arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges. The program aims to divert vets into VA treatment, reducing jail time, costs and criminal recidivism, while improving mental health recovery and successful re-entry into the community, according to the court website.
Albert is currently on probation until 2019, with community supervision rules that include refraining from committing any criminal offenses in the U.S. and prohibiting him from leaving Harris County without prior approval. He must also report any new arrests to Harris County authorities within 24 hours. Details of the criminal cases that led to his previous arrests were not immediately available.
“I do not have any indication that he’s known to have mental illness,” David Willborn, the county prosecutor, told The New York Times. “His behavior indicates that there is certainly cause for concern regarding his mental health.”
In court documents, Albert talked about his religious beliefs, according to KSAT-TV. He wrote in 2018 that he was affiliated with Messianic Judaism and the “First Church of Cannabis.” Messianic Judaism combines Christian and Jewish beliefs. He argued in the court filing that he used marijuana as a “sacrament” as part of the church, the news station reports.
“This affiliation is generally a very private and secretive one as the desire of we affiliates is to separate ourselves from recreational cannabis users who continue to pervert the usage of our sacrament (cannabis),” Albert wrote, according to the Houston Chronicle.
3. Albert Served in the Marine Corps From 2003 to 2008, Including as an Embassy Guard in Egypt, Iraq, Colombia & Ecuador
Tony Albert II served in the Marine Corps from 2003 to 2008 after graduating from high school in Houston in 2003, according to his Linkedin profile. Albert was a Marine Embassy Guard and a sergeant/administrative clerk, he wrote on Linkedin. In his role as an embassy guard, Albert said he provided 24-hour armed internal security as a Marine Security Guard to U.S. embassies in Cairo, Egypt; Baghdad, Iraq; Bogota, Colombia; and Quito, Ecuador. He said he had top secret security clearance in that role.
“Experience in overseas protection of diplomatic and top ranking officials, internal/external perimeter security, weapons handling and leadership. Extensive experience serving in combat situations including high levels of stress and fatigue due to prolonged exposure to rockets, mortars, sniper fire and other personal safety hazards,” he wrote on Linkedin. “Control immediate security, including entry and exit and direction of personnel, of secure buildings in the event of an emergency situations.”
Albert said he was, “Trained in physical security; both lethal and non-lethal weapons and empty-hand techniques,” and “Supported wartime, peacekeeping, and humanitarian efforts in 9 countries to further the U.S. mission.”
He also wrote that he worked as an administrative clerk, where he “Managed in excess of 300 personnel records involving and consisting of financial, administrative, disciplinary, and separation paperwork.”
In 2010, a former U.S. State Department employee wrote a recommendation for Albert on Linkedin:
It gives me great pleasure to write this letter of recommendation on behalf of Tony Albert. I had the honor of working with Mr. Albert for several months while stationed at the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. His good work ethic and compassionate nature has led me to continue correspondence with him over the past few years. I think very highly of Mr. Albert and I believe he has the skills and drive to excel to great heights.
Mr. Albert is a creative and original thinker. He has native intelligence, great curiosity about people and ideas, and plenty of common sense that he has applied to his position with the US Marine Corp. In addition, he has demonstrated excellent powers of observation, and an ability to communicate and suggest change in an effective but non-threatening way.
Mr. Albert is an intelligent, capable and personable young man. He is always quick on his feet, with sensible reactions in all circumstance I have seen him in. I feel confident in saying that he is capable of handling any situation with thoughtfulness and maturity.
Officials for the Marine Corps did not immediately respond to requests from Heavy for additional details about Albert’s service.
4. He Worked as a Security Officer in the Houston School District for 3 Years & Since Went Into the Business World, Starting a Company Whose Twitter Account He Used to Post Conspiracy Theories About Obama & Trump
After leaving the Marines, Albert worked as a security officer at the Houston school district from August 2008 to January 2011, according to his Linkedin profile. He said he, “Initiated and assisted with felony investigations to recover stolen school property. … Liaised with local police department to provide a safe and crime free environment. … Protected students and faculty from potential threats. … Create and maintain file of incident reports for transmittal to higher authority.”
Albert also said he coordinated emergency training drills and was a “positive role model for the youth.” While working as the school security guard, Albert said he was also a full-time student at University of Houston-Downtown, where he completed a bachelor degree in criminal justice in 2010. He then received a master’s degree in business administration and global business management from the University of Houston-Victoria in 2014, according to his Linkedin profile. The Houston ISD could not immediately be reached for comment about Albert’s time working for the district.
In 2010, he began working as a logistics coordinator at an endoscopy company and was later a program manager for QR1 quote systems, his Linkedin profile says. He also worked briefly in sales for a marketing company in 2015. In 2014, he founded a company called A-n-D LLC, which he described as “A small business consulting firm dedicated to driving efficiencies and building revenue in the small-to-medium sized business sector in the Greater Houston area. Dedicated to start-ups and mid-scale expansions alike, our determination is to get your business to a level of operations that demonstrates who and what you desire it to be.”
As part of that business, Albert launched a Kickstarter in 2015 for an Angels-n_Demons food truck. He wrote on the Kickstarter, which he later canceled, that he wanted to launch the food truck in Missouri City:
Angels -n- Demons (henceforth referred to as “A&D”) will initiate as a food truck that merges outstanding customer service with music, atmosphere, technology, and great food. A&D will hire only hardworking individuals who are dedicated to awesome customer service. A&D will serve cuisine from two menus; the “Angel Menu”, consisting of healthy yet delicious fare; and the “Demon Menu”, consisting of indulgent fare that is not so much on the healthy side but allows our patrons to treat themselves to much deserved pig-out sessions.
His Twitter account for that business has several posts about conspiracy theories. The account, which was was first uncovered by HuffPost, has not been used since January 2017. His last weet, on January 17, was a link to a YouTube video titled, “Donald Trump to bring final fulfillment to Bible Prophecy?” He shared several other videos about Trump and prophecies.
In a series of January 15, 2017, tweets, he wrote, “America, you could accomplish so much if it weren’t for political correctness! … silly question but did the real Obama get killed on national TV over 3 years ago and the secret service’s plan to erase mass memories using media / TVs and replacing Obama with the clone so that the populous wouldn’t riot and go into a frenzy or start a race war have anything to do with Russian desire to create panic in the US and corrupt economic and social forces so that it would be the world mega power for endtime sake?”
He added, “also, did the mass memory erasure not working properly get many people fired or killed at SS? are you reading this now NSA? are you ready for the motherload? How fast can you kill me before people start waking up and reading this?”
When Trump was elected in 2016, Albert tweeted at him, “Never thought I’d be happier to call this great nation home!”
5. Albert Is Being Held at the Guadalupe County Jail on $100,000 Bail as the Investigation Into the Incident Continues
Tony Albert was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Seguin Police Department. The charge is a third-degree felony, which carries a potential sentence of 2 to 10 years in state prison. Police did not say what previous felony charge Albert was convicted of, which would prohibit him from possessing a firearm. Albert was also charged with possession of marijuana, but police did not say how much marijuana he was allegedly in possession of when he was arrested. It is a class B misdemeanor in Texas to possess under 2 ounces of marijuana, and a class A misdemeanor to possess 4 ounces to 5 pounds. Possession of more than 5 pounds is a felony.
Albert was booked into the Guadalupe County Jail after his arrest Sunday morning, the Seguin Police Department said in the press release. He is being held on $100,000 bail. It is not clear when Albert is scheduled to appear in court, but his arraignment is not likely to come until January, prosecutors said. He could face additional charges.
The Seguin Police Department said its investigation into the incident is ongoing. The FBI, ATF and the Texas Rangers are joining the investigation along with the local police department, Officer Tanya Brown said.