BELTON, MO (KCTV) - According to court documents, 36-year-old Timothy R. Wilson decided he wanted to bomb a hospital before Kansas City’s stay at home order took effect at midnight on March 24th. He didn’t want to wait because he worried he would draw suspicion being one of the only vehicles on the road.
Before investigators say Wilson filled a Belton storage unit with bomb making components, he searched for like-minded people to plan his attack using encrypted messaging apps. Wilson reached out to a person online who agreed to work with the FBI to start tracking Wilson’s suspected plans starting last September. Retired FBI Agent Michael Tabman says that can't be dismissed as just "talk."
“We can’t take any chances, so if someone starts talking about committing these crimes that we read about in this affidavit, we don’t do a psychological profile and say, ‘oh he is just talking.’ We treat it seriously,” Tabman said.
The FBI’s confidential source introduced Wilson to an undercover FBI agent. Wilson eventually met the undercover agent at a Belton storage unit. Investigators say Wilson began buying bomb making materials online and at local hardware stores and stored them in the unit.
“He made a reference to Timothy McVeigh,” Tabman said.
Investigators say Wilson wanted to commit a similar terrorist attack by using a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device, known as a VBIED, in an attempt to hurt or kill as many people as he could. He suggested elementary schools, police stations, Islamic Centers or a synagogue, but his plans changed as COVID-19 became a global pandemic and became the focus of news coverage.
“I think had COVID-19 not been an issue, he probably wouldn’t have thought about a hospital,” Tabman said.
According to court records, the undercover agent recorded a meeting with Wilson. At that meeting, Wilson suggested he would drive a VBIED to the Belton Regional Medical Center and set a timer for it to explode 20 minutes later.
He wanted the undercover agent to pick him up. Then he would walk back to his Raymore home that is about a mile away from the hospital. Wilson suggested they do a timed dry run to see how long his plan would take.
After the dry run, the undercover agent loaded the bomb making materials into his vehicle and told Wilson he would take them to a “guy” who would assemble the bomb.
On March 24th, investigators say Wilson went to pick up what he thought was a VBIED near the Belton storage unit but there was no actual bomb. During the arrest attempt, Wilson was shot and later died at the hospital.
“He may have reached out to someone else who shares that ideology and may have actually engaged in the activity, so yes, I think it’s a strong possibility that the FBI did stop a terrorist attack,” Tabman said.
When investigators searched the home where Wilson was living in Raymore, they seized a long list of items including a laptop, journal, multiple rounds of ammunition, guns, several tactical vests, a flak jacket and kevlar helmet.
During the investigations, agents say Wilson sent an encrypted message to a confidential source that said, “If your (sic) a fed then I suppose you got me now. If that’s the case, make sure you bring lots of body bags when you raid my house lol.”
In encrypted messages, investigators say Wilson used racial slurs when he talked about attacking people of different races and religions and held anti-government beliefs.
He engaged in National Socialist Movement chat groups but chose not to attend an upcoming NSM because he didn’t want to, “blow his cover.”