United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that Taylor Michael Wilson, 26, of St. Charles, Missouri, was sentenced today in federal court in Lincoln for violence against a transportation system and possession of an unregistered short barrel rifle. The Honorable John Gerrard sentenced Wilson to 168 months imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system. After his release from prison, Wilson will be on a five-year term of supervised release. Wilson was further ordered to make restitution to Amtrak in the amount of $9,350.
Wilson boarded an Amtrak train in California on October 19, 2017. He remained on the train as it traveled into Nebraska. Near Furnas County, Nebraska, Wilson, armed with a handgun, broke into the engine compartment of the train. He cut the lights to the passenger compartment and disabled the train. Some passengers panicked and attempted to escape through the windows.
Train conductors subdued Wilson. During the struggle, Wilson declared that he was the conductor. He stated that he was “trying to save the train from black people.” Wilson was restrained until law enforcement arrived, confiscated his gun and took him into custody.
Wilson claims membership in the Nationalist Socialist Movement. A search of his residence in Missouri recovered the unregistered short barrel rifle, a copy of Mein Kampf and a play Wilson wrote about taking over America.
At sentencing the government produced evidence that Wilson participated in the riots at Charlottesville, Virginia.
When imposing sentence, Judge Gerrard stated about the day that Wilson disabled the Amtrak train, “On that day, October 21, 2017, you were a gun-toting, angry…white supremacist.” and that “Fortunately for Wilson and for others, Wilson was caught while committing this particularly senseless and violent act.”
United States Attorney Joe Kelly stated that today’s sentence sends an important message. Racially motivated crimes will not be tolerated. Hate crimes such as this will be aggressively pursued to the full extent permitted by the law. He commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Furnas and Harlan County Sheriff’s Offices and Assistant United States Attorney Lesley Woods for their hard work.
“The FBI remains steadfast in our commitment to keep our country and its people safe. This is the perfect example of what a unified partnership between different agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office should look like,” FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Randall Thysse said.