Louis Shenker is a 22-year-old extreme right-wing conspiracy theorist who is being sought by police in connection with a hoax bomb placed in a car outside a Queens, New York, shopping mall.
According to NBC News, the Tesla car had a husky dog inside it and pro Black Lives Matter signs. Law enforcement sources told NBC News they were investigating whether the motive was discrediting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Shenker has a long history of right-wing agitation.
He’s peddled conspiracy theories about the election and COVID-19 online and in InfoWars webcast appearances. “The communist party has been planning the destruction of the United States of America for over 100 years. The year 2020 is when they make their final move,” he wrote on Facebook.
On social media, he touted his support for President Donald Trump. His top post on Facebook is a share of Trump’s Christmas message. His cover photo reads, “We the People.” He wrote of Trump, “I will not allow the cowards in the senate to continue to stab our Caesar.” He also repeatedly shared Trump’s posts about voter fraud.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. New York Police Say the Suspicious Package at the Queens Place Mall Was ‘Deemed a Hoax Device’
Police posted a picture of the hoax device, which you can see above.
Deputy Commissioner John Miller said in a press conference that police received a call at 7:38 a.m. on January 4 from the Queens Center Mall about a suspicious vehicle. He said that propane tanks and wires were protruding from the vehicle.
Police “began to tape off the area and evacuate the area around it,” he said, adding that the Fire Department also responded and assisted in evacuating a wide area.
Bomb squad members donned protective equipment and “assessed what appeared to be a possible explosive device.” Miller said this was a “laborious and meticulous process that takes some time.” He said they eventually were able to “clear this vehicle and determine it was not an explosive device, although based on their expertise it appeared to be.”
The vehicle was “rendered safe, returning the mall and businesses back to their normal operations.”
“The bomb squad has determined this is a hoax device,” said Miller.
UPDATE: The suspicious package in the @NYPD110Pct has been deemed a hoax device.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) January 4, 2021
A fire official said the Fire Department received a single unit response to come to the parking garage for a vehicle leaking fumes. They determined it was a suspicious vehicle and immediately began evacuating the mall.
The New York Police Department wrote on Twitter on January 4, “Please avoid the area of Queens Place Mall due to a suspicious package. Expect delays if traveling in the surrounding area. Update to follow.”
Police followed that up by writing, “UPDATE: The suspicious package in the @NYPD110Pct has been deemed a hoax device. Immediately upon responding to the initial scene, officers from @NYPDCT and @NYPDSpecialops rescued this husky that was trapped inside the vehicle.”
2. Shenker Previously Took a Blow Torch to a Poster of George Floyd & Made Other Incendiary Posts
BOOST/SHARE. Last night, Louis Shenker filmed himself committing a hate crime at NYC’s BLM Vigil in Carl Schurz Park. Shenker took a blow torch to a memorial photograph of George Floyd. He also threatened FBI agents and numerous politicians on camera. CW: Photos/video below pic.twitter.com/rfW1EPfvrE
— momtifa (@MomtifaN) December 30, 2020
Shenker’s Instagram page is now deleted, but he’s notorious for performing various anti BLM actions. However, people have saved some of his posts and recirculated them on Twitter.
In the video above, he takes a blow torch to a poster of George Floyd, the man whose death in Minneapolis sparked protests and riots throughout the country.
In the video, Shenker says he was standing in a “Yiddish autonomous zone.” He referred to Floyd as Saint George in the video before torching a picture of him. “And there you have it,” he said, “This is the Minute Man broadcast.” He claimed in the video that his family was threatened. “I have a verses to read from the Good Book.” He then read from the Bible.
Louis Shenker, 22, accused of placing a hoax bomb that evacuated a mall in Queens, New York, on Monday morning is a right-wing conspiracy theorist who was arrested for arson on Dec. 30 and has been under investigation by the NYPD for at least a week. pic.twitter.com/cfP9sRBfwS
— Graphenes (@Graphenes1) January 5, 2021
According to NBC News, other posts included a video with an “Amtrak requires everyone to wear a face mask” sign burning, pro Trump signs, and an incident in which Shenker “appears to have staged an incident in which his car was hit with red paint” outside the New York mayor’s residence. Social media posts indicate a pro BLM vigil was destroyed.
The BLM vigil at Carl Schurz, near Gracie Mansion, was destroyed overnight by a man named Louis Shenker, replacing it with a pro-Trump "Chanukah Rave" according to screenshots from @outlivethemnyc.
The vigil has occurred every night for nearly 200 consecutive days. https://t.co/thaBcAX0JO
— NYC Protest Updates (@protest_nyc) December 13, 2020
People raised previous concerns about Shenker on Twitter. One woman wrote, after the Nashville bombing, “Louis Shenker is gonna be next and once again the police and fbi will have completely failed to address the threat. And y’all are actually out here trying to ban body armor in NYC?”
According to NBC, Shenker has tweeted at a figure in the “the far-right Groyper movement, which seeks to turn the racist and homophobic trolling culture of the extremist forum 4chan into real life action.”
3. Shenker Previously Wrote About Sneaking Into a Democratic Debate
At age 17, Shenker wrote a blog post called “How I snuck into the South Carolina Democratic debate.” He said he was in Charleston for his sister’s wedding.
“I had chosen to wear my great grand uncle Oscar Moncrief Stanley’s handmade silk jacket that he had commissioned in China in the 1960’s to the event,” he wrote in the blog post. He wrote that he lied that “I was representing B’nai Brith International and the World Jewish Congress, the later of the two I am not certain is a real organization.” He also wrote that he falsely claimed to be Martin O’Malley’s son.
“I went up to Martin O’Malley and congratulated him on his debate performance. I took back my phone and shook hands with Bernie Sanders and said similar things to him. I then continued to Hillary Clinton and introduced myself. I told her that she debated very well and that I wished her the best of luck and shook her hand. She said that it was a pleasure meeting me and commented that she thought I was dressed very sharp,” the post says.
In that post, he wrote that he was from Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
4. Shenker, Described as a Donald Trump Supporter, Had a Very Controversial Time in College
In June 2020, the conservative outlet, The American Spectator, wrote an article on Shenker titled, “University Targets Its Own Student for ‘White Supremacy.'”
The article claimed, “Campus professors, administrators, and graduate student instructors publicly smeared UMass Amherst student Louis Shenker as a dangerous racist and falsely charged him with hate crimes to get him expelled from school, claiming that his ‘views are not the kind we want to cultivate at the University.'”
According to the story, Shenker “is Jewish, a conservative, an outspoken Zionist, and a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump. Shenker vigorously advocates for his political opinions.”
The article claims that Shenker, in 2018, went to a UMass Amherst rally “organized by radical graduate students to protest racism and white supremacy,” while wearing a MAGA cap and carrying a sign supporting President Trump.
The story says he was “mobbed, pushed” and blocked from displaying his sign. That story says he is the grandson of Holocaust victims and that a graduate student teacher “snatched his hat.”
He reported the incident to campus police, who determined he was a victim of “larceny and assault and battery motivated by anti-white and anti-Jewish bias.”
Flyers were disseminated around campus calling Shenker a white supremacist. Shenker’s lawyers sent a demand letter to the university outlining his side, which you can read here:
Louis Shenker Demand Letter… by Americans for Peace and Tol…
A statement against Shenker by the Campus Antifascist Network claimed Shenker was the one doing the harassing, adding, “Louis Shenker, whose Internet presence, including the ‘MinutemanBroadcast,’ identifies him as an extreme alt-right personality who uses incel language.”
The article says he disrupted a pro Palestinian event by shouting “racial slurs at the speakers.” He was invited on Alex Jones’ Info Wars for a half hour interview. Other conservative personalities then elevated the story. He was accused of constantly referring “to his target as his ex-teacher in the English department and as a terrorist/jihadist, while simultaneously posting that he will shoot Amherst terrorists.”
The graduate student was placed on administrative leave from teaching for her own safety, says the article. “When he was served with an anti-harassment order issued by the Northampton District Court, he immediately violated it by posting threats online and was subsequently arrested,” it says.
5. Shenker Was Accused of Arson the Week Before the Bomb Hoax
Louis Shenker verbally and physically menaced New Yorkers watching over the BLM vigil last night. He threatened to sic the Proud Boys, Alex Jones, and all of his InfoWars on a local woman, calling her a "communist cunt," a "fat cow," and a "bitch." Just a taste in this video… pic.twitter.com/Hu7S5FLHRR
— Outlive Them NYC (@outlivethemnyc) December 13, 2020
According to NBC news, Shenker was already accused of arson and arrested the week before the bomb hoax.
News4 reported via sources that Shenker “was arrested twice last week, once for allegedly burning a Black Lives Matter-related poster and the other for making a separate threat.”
Shenker’s Twitter page has been suspended.
The above video captures him allegedly calling a woman names, while saying he’s going to contact InfoWars and Alex Jones. “We’ve got an anti-Semitic b**** here,” he says in the video.
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