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L.A. Suspect Has Hate Group Ties

August 11, 1999

The man being sought in the shooting at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles has ties to hate groups in the Northwest and may have once lived with the widow of a man who started the white supremacist group the Order.

Los Angeles police identified the man being sought in Tuesday’s attack as Buford Oneal Furrow.

Furrow is listed in a database maintained by the Southern Poverty Law Center of people connected with radical groups, said Mark Potok, a researcher with the center based in Montgomery, Ala.

Potok said Furrow was a member of Aryan Nations in 1995, and said he has a photo of Furrow in a Nazi uniform, taken that year at the Aryan Nations Compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

A van believed driven by Furrow contained a book, ``War Cycles, Peace Cycles,″ written by Richard Kelly Hoskins, who Potok called ``one of the principal ideologues of Christian Identity.″

Christian Identity is a religious group that considers white people the true Israelites and superior to Jews and nonwhites.

``Identity is a post-millennial religion,″ Potok said. ``That means that hard-line Identity adherents believe that in order for Christ to return to Earth, the globe must be swept clean of satanic forces _ meaning Jews, homosexuals and a whole laundry list of other enemies. So it’s a belligerent religion. It’s a religion that demands that its followers take up the gun.″

Eric Rudolph, the man accused of the Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic and Atlanta Olympic bombings, also is believed to be an Identity member, Potok said.

The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., reported today that Furrow once lived with Debbie Mathews, widow of Robert J. Mathews, founder of another hate group, the Order. Mathews was killed in 1984 when his hideout caught fire during a shootout with federal agents on Washington’s Whidbey Island.

``I think (Ms. Mathews) dumped him a year or so ago, and I haven’t seen him since,″ Metaline Falls, Wash., town marshal Rick Reiber told the newspaper.

After Mathews’ death, 22 Order members were convicted or pleaded guilty after being indicted on racketeering charges. They were accused of robberies that netted more than $4 million, as well as at least one hate crime, the 1984 murder of Alan Berg, a Jewish talk-radio host in Denver.

The Seattle Times reported today that Furrow tried last year to commit himself at the Fairfax Psychiatric Hospital in Kirkland, a Seattle suburb, according to Dr. Tim Rogge, the hospital’s former medical director.

However, Rogge said, at one point Furrow pulled a knife on several staff members.

King County court records in Seattle show that Furrow pleaded guilty on April 26 this year to a second-degree assault with a knife. He was sentenced to eight months in jail, and 12 months community supervision. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Furrow served any part of his sentence.

The Times said Rogge didn’t know what psychiatric problems Furrow may have had. He said it was likely Furrow was ``looking for some safe place where he could get some kind of help.″

FBI agents spoke to Furrow’s parents near Olympia, Wash., on Tuesday after interviewing neighbors Janet and Tim Tyrolt, Mrs. Tyrolt said. She said she recognized Furrow from his mug shot on television news.

She said she met Furrow two or three months ago at their mailboxes along a rural highway north of Olympia, and they both joked about how dangerous it was to dash across the road to check the mail.

Afterward, ``he actually stopped the traffic for me. It was really nice,″ Mrs. Tyrolt said.

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