Amtrak rampage nets Missouri man 14 years in prison

Published: Oct. 5, 2018 at 3:05 PM CDT
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An armed Missouri man who told prosecutors, "I was high" when he pulled the emergency brake on an Amtrak train causing panic among the passengers has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Taylor Wilson has also been ordered to pay Amtrak $9,350 for the Furnas County, Nebraska incident.

Wilson, 26, of St. Charles, Missouri was sentenced Friday in federal court in Lincoln for "Violence Against a Transportation System" and Possession of an Unregistered Short Barrel Rifle."

Wilson boarded an Amtrak train in California on October 19, 2017. He remained on the train as it traveled into Nebraska. Near Furnas County, 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 tried to escape through the windows.

Train conductors subdued Wilson. During the struggle, Wilson declared that he was the conductor. He said 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 for the Amtrak incident, Judge John Gerrard told Wilson, “On that day, October 21, 2017, you were a gun-toting, angry…white supremacist.”

United States Attorney Joe Kelly said the 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.

There is no parole in the federal system. After his release from prison, Wilson will be on a five-year term of supervised release.