GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — On the same day they were allegedly plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor, three suspected terrorists talked to Target 8 investigators at a militia rally at the state Capitol.
The men were part of a heavily armed, Hawaiian-shirt-clad group, hanging around the steps of the very building federal agents say they planned to attack.
According to a federal court document, the men met up at the American Patriot rally to discuss the kidnapping plot and “recruit more members for the operation.”
Target 8, researching a story on extremism, noticed the group’s Hawaiian garb, which is a signature of the boogaloo movement.
But when Target 8 investigator Susan Samples approached the group with her cellphone camera rolling, they were decidedly evasive.
“It’s just a shirt,” said one man when asked why they were all wearing tropical prints.
That man turned out to be 37-year-old Adam Fox of Grand Rapids, the alleged ringleader of a violent plot to overthrow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
A second man explained, “It’s summertime. It’s Hawaiian time. We like Hawaiian shirts.”
He turned out to be Pete Musico, 42, of Munith, now charged with terrorism threat and providing material support for terrorist acts, among other alleged federal crimes.
Also in the group was Joseph Morrison, 26, who’s facing the same charges as Musico.
Musico and Morrison live together in Munith.
The criminal complaint charging six of the thirteen suspects specified June 18 as one of the group’s meeting dates.
“(Adam) Fox, in coordination with (Barry) Croft, met with members of the militia group at various times in June 2020,” wrote an agent in the federal complaint.
“During one such meeting on June 18, 2020, which was audio recorded by CHS-2 (Confidential Human Source-2), (Adam) Fox, militia group leadership, including Michigan resident Ty Garbin, and CHS-2 met at a Second Amendment rally at the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan. In an effort to recruit more members for the operation, Fox told Garbin and CHS-2 he planned to attack the Capitol and asked them to combine forces.”
When asked by Target 8 if their clothing choice meant anything, Musico said with a smile, “no, not that I know of. What does it mean?”
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Hawaiian shirts became a symbol of boogaloo because one of the term’s variations is “big luau.”
The ADL describes the boogaloo movement as “an anti-government extremist movement that formed in 2019.”
“In 2020, boogalooers increasingly engaged in real world activities as well as online activities, showing up at protests and rallies around gun rights, pandemic restrictions and police-related killings,” read the boogaloo description on the ADL’s website.
The term “boogaloo” refers to the civil war the movement’s supporters believe will erupt in America over gun rights.
The term’s origin is traced to a “longstanding joke referencing the 1984 film Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” according to the ADL.
“The participation of boogaloo adherents in 2020’s anti-lockdown and Black Lives Matter protests has focused significant attention on the movement, as have the criminal and violent acts committed by some of its adherents,” said the nonprofit organization on its website.
Due to the movement’s anti-police stance, supporters have participated in protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.