An Ohio ex-felon, whose sporting goods store was raided by the FBI in December in a roundup of rifles and ammunition, turns out to have placed a Detroit Jewish official and other Jewish and black leaders on his list of possible victims.
Richard Schmidt pleaded guilty to a host of charges in July and faces sentencing next month. Details of the case reveal that while the raid may have prevented a murder spree, federal laws and authorities did not stop Schmidt from managing to get a hold of 18 guns, including assault rifles and 40,000 rounds of ammunition despite his being prohibited for possessing firearms due to his previous conviction.
Investigators discovered that Schmidt maintained notes with the names of Detroit leaders, including, Scott Kaufman, the chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.
“For a convicted violent felon to amass an arsenal with 40,000 rounds of ammunition with no red flags popping up is problematic,” Kaufman told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “ No matter where you stand on the gun issue, it makes you wonder. The moment I saw my name in this guy’s notebook, I freaked out.”
Schmidt was released from jail in 2003 after serving 13 years for manslaughter and assault in 1989, when he fired a 9 mm semiautomatic at three people as they left a bar. Schmidt killed one of the men and wounded two others.
His “rehabilitation” included the formation of a non-profit organization, which the Southern Poverty Law Center described as having “a reputation for drinking, brawling and following a racist version of Odinism, a form of ancient paganism practiced by Vikings,” the newspaper reported.”
Schmidt later opened up his Spindletop Sports Zone sports memorabilia business, which federal agents began tracking in 2011 for counterfeit items.
Shipments of “Men’s Clothing” turned out to be low-quality NFL jerseys, and federal agents were suspicious when they spotted him unloading a large number of boxes in four trailers.
The FBI raid in December uncovered an arsenal large enough to equip a small police force – three assault rifles, three 9 mm handguns, four shotguns, cases of Winchester bullets and a bullet-proof vest.