A man reported to be part of the anti-government “sovereign citizens” movement has been charged with federal crimes in the June shooting of a Bureau of Land Management ranger and a California Highway Patrol officer in Nevada County.
The Sacramento Division of the FBI announced that a three-count criminal complaint was filed Friday against Brent Douglas Cole, 61, a Nevada County resident. The charges relate to the shooting of the BLM ranger and CHP officer June 14 in the area of the South Yuba River campground in rural Nevada County.
The criminal complaint charges him with assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon which inflicted bodily injury, assault on a person assisting a federal officer with a deadly weapon which inflicted bodily injury, and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, according to an FBI news release.
Cole has been in custody since the shooting and currently faces pending charges by the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office. After consultation with the District Attorney’s Office, and because the incident occurred on federal land and a federal agent was wounded in the course of his duties, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento and the FBI determined it was appropriate to bring federal charges in the case, officials said.
It is anticipated that Cole will make his initial appearance in federal court sometime next week and that pending state charges will not go forward.
According to the complaint affidavit, on June 14, the BLM ranger and CHP officer were in the process of impounding two motorcycles found at the South Yuba River campground, when Cole arrived at the campsite, armed, and an exchange of gunfire occurred. The BLM ranger was wounded in the left shoulder and the CHP officer was wounded in the right leg. Cole also was shot. All three survived their wounds.
Nevada County sheriff’s officials have said that Cole’s writings – filed in courthouses in Nevada County and Anchorage, Alaska, as well as on his social media sites and numerous other websites – indicate he is part of a movement whose members typically don’t recognize the authority of federal, state and some local government agencies.