A man who allegedly streamed live on Facebook as he drove around Texarkana looking for a police officer to kill pleaded not guilty Tuesday to attempted capital murder of a peace officer.
Aaron Swenson, 36, appeared from a live feed at the Bowie County jail before 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison on Tuesday morning. A member of the Bowie County Public Defender’s Office pleaded not guilty for Swenson to charges of attempted murder of a police officer, attempted murder and terroristic threats with a hate crime enhancement. If convicted of the attempted capital murder charge, Swenson faces up to life in prison.
Addison scheduled the case for a jury trial in January. First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said the state will not make a plea offer in the case.
Swenson came to the attention of law enforcement because of his social media activity and alleged affiliation with the extremist anti-government “Boogaloo” or “Bugaloo” group. According to a probable cause affidavit, Texarkana, Texas, police had received a notice about Swenson a couple of months before he began livestreaming on Facebook that he intended to kill a police officer the night of April 11.
Police were notified by multiple callers that in the live feed, a man said he was driving in the Texarkana area searching for a police officer alone so that he could ambush them. Officers were able to view the live video feed and quickly determined that he was driving a late model black Chevrolet truck in the area of St. Michael Drive just west of I-369. At one point, the man could be heard saying in the video that he had just passed an officer on the service road but was having to turn around to go get him.
Several officers responded to the area and located a similar vehicle as it turned onto Kings Highway from St. Michael Drive. The driver pulled into the Sonic parking lot on Kings Highway but immediately fled at a high rate of speed when the officers activated their emergency lights. Officers pursued the vehicle as it turned onto Hampton Road and headed toward the Redlick community. An officer anticipated the route he was likely to take and deployed the spike system near the intersection of Shiloh and Leary Roads, which immediately deflated one of Swenson’s tires. However, he continued to flee at a high rate of speed until coming to an eventual stop on Highway 82 in Hooks.
Swenson sat in his vehicle with his music blaring and ignored officers’ commands to exit. After approximately 25 minutes, he stepped out of his vehicle and surrendered.
Swenson’s bail is set at $1 million.