Jury sentences man to 50 years for attempted murder of a police officer

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A man who livestreamed himself on social media as he drove around Texarkana searching for a police officer to kill last April was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison by a Bowie County jury.

Aaron Swenson, 38, was associated with the Boogaloo movement, an anti-government extremist group, and had armed himself with three firearms and a sword the night of April 11, 2020. Swenson wore a Hawaiian shirt symbolic of the Boogaloo group and a tactical vest. He carried 156 rounds of ammunition.

Swenson broadcast on Facebook Live as he traveled on I-30 looking for a police officer alone. Swenson spoke of “finding his prey” and “hunting for tyrants and red coats.”

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Calls to 911 alerted on-duty law enforcement to the live feed. Officers were able to determine what kind of truck Swenson was driving and find his location despite Swenson keeping the camera turned down most of the time. Swenson led officers on a high-speed chase through Bowie County, eventually coming to a stop on Highway 82 after an officer was able to deflate one of his tires with a spike strip.

He remained in his truck with heavy metal music blaring for approximately 25 minutes before surrendering.

Friday morning the jury sentenced Swenson to 50 years for attempted murder of a police officer, 20 years for terroristic threatening and 10 years for evading arrest in a vehicle. The jury also found Swenson guilty of violating the Texas Hate Crimes Act. All of the sentences will run concurrently.

First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter argued for substantial prison time for Swenson, citing the threat he poses to those who serve the community in law enforcement. Swenson posted numerous threats and anti-law enforcement statements on Facebook pages he operated under aliases.

The day before his livestream video, Swenson posted a photo of uniformed officers carrying a casket draped with a flag with the caption, “This is how police officers take out the trash.”

Swenson has been in custody since his arrest April 11, 2020. The trial was presided over by 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison. Swenson was represented by the Bowie County Public Defender’s Office.

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