The Hammerskin Nation was seemingly born in violence. In the summer of 1988, not long after the racist skinhead group was formed, five of its young members embarked on a spree of hate in Dallas. They spray painted swastikas on a local Jewish temple. They shot out the windows of a Jewish community center. They chased and beat minorities who dared to set foot in a park named for the Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
When the men were indicted the following year, Dallas County assistant district attorney Michael Gillett said it was the beginning of the end for the violent white supremacist crew. “This is our first major frontal assault against skinhead terrorist activities,” Gillett said.
But more than 20 years later, the Hammerskins are still unleashing havoc in America. Two domestic terrorism investigations this year have been linked to the group, with the latest and most violent example coming on Sunday when a relatively new member walked into a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and opened fire on worshipers there. Authorities said he killed six people and wounded three before killing himself during a gun battle with police.
The other investigation came to a head in May, when a joint terrorism task force in Florida arrested more than a dozen members of another racist skinhead organization called American Front. The group was led by former Hammerskins member Marcus Faella. Investigators said American Front was experimenting with the creation of the toxin ricin, plotting attacks on rival groups and wanted to cause some sort of “disturbance” at Orlando City Hall.
A must-read on the terrorist cells that Wade Page was involved with before he shot up a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.