Suspects in five killings across the country have reportedly been linked to a neo-Nazi group that promotes an “autonomous fascist lifestyle” amid growing white supremacist violence since President Trump’s election.
The Washington Post identified the group as Atomwaffen Division, a Charles Manson-obsessed neo-Nazi group that describes itself as a “revolutionary national socialist organization centered around political activism and the practice of an autonomous fascist lifestyle.”
The group’s website claims that they train members for the “ultimate aim of overthrowing the U.S. government through the use of terrorism and guerrilla warfare.”
It adds that joining the group means “serious dedication not only to the Atomwaffen Division and its members, but with the goal of ultimate uncompromising victory.”
“With this means only those willing to get out on the streets, in the woods, or where we maybe [sic] in the world and work together in the physical realm,” the website says. “We often go hunting, adventuring, and a group favorite is urban exploring.”
The Post highlighted the murder earlier this month of California college student Blaze Bernstein, who was stabbed 20 times. Law enforcement announced they were investigating whether Bernstein’s death was a hate crime because he was gay and Jewish.
The arrest of Samuel Woodward, a 20-year-old former high school classmate of Bernstein’s who joined the Atomwaffen Division in 2016, only intensified the speculation that the stabbing was a hate crime.
According to the Post, the group first came into the national spotlight in May 2017, when an 18-year-old man was arrested in Tampa, Fla., and charged with killing two of his roommates. According to ProPublica, all three were linked with the group.
Cells of the group have been reported in multiple states, according to the Anti-Defamation League, but experts say it may only have 80 members nationwide.