Texas militiaman Kevin “K.C.” Massey, on the lam as a federal fugitive, vowed never to be captured alive by authorities. So when police finally found him, he had lived up to that vow.
Massey’s body was found by Texas deputies last month “in a small wooded area” in Van Zandt County, not far from his hometown of Quinlan, in neighboring Hunt County. They were responding to a 911 call about an “unresponsive person.” Massey was later identified through fingerprints. Police said he had suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Massey was the subject of a Federal Marshals Service warrant issued in July naming him “Most Wanted,” and warning that he was “armed and dangerous,” and moreover “has reportedly made threats to kill law enforcement that attempt to arrest him.”
Massey was arrested in 2015 by federal agents at the Mexico border, where he had been involved in an ongoing effort by a group of “Patriot” militiamen to prevent crossings by would-be immigrants at the Rio Grande. The group—who called their operation “Camp Lonestar”—was among the first such militias to actually detain border crossers with wrist ties and hold them for detention by Border Patrol.
On his Facebook page, Massey had posted a warning:
KC is done playing the game of unconstitutional courts that already cost him 3+ years in federal prison for not even violating the law as written. The judge said in his statement, that the conviction was based on court precedent not on the written letter of the law. The feds continued to subject KC to their tyranny after release from prison, while serving a double jeopardy sentence of 3 years probation. KC is NOT going to allow himself to be kidnapped again. Death before dishonor!
There were several arrests at Camp Lonestar. The first occurred when a participant named John Frederick Forrester, also a convicted felon, had an encounter in the brush with a Border Patrol officer that drew the agent’s gunfire. When more federal agents arrived to pursue a tip that Forrester was not the only armed felon in the camp, they found Massey—who had a 2003 conviction on his record—also in possession of a gun.
Massey had become the chief media spokesman for Camp Lonestar, which had begun operating initially under a veil of secrecy. As is inevitably the case with such operations, rather than actually clamping down on illegal crossings, the group’s presence actually just complicated an already difficult situation. It also fairly dripped with conspiracist paranoia.
Camp Lonestar was particularly notable for its harassment and detention of would-be border-crossers. In one video, the militiamen could be seen rounding up a group of immigrants and holding them for Border Patrol. Massey posted an explanation on Facebook afterward: “Sorry we had to ‘Detain’ them,” he wrote in a comment. “[B]ut they were wore out and just fell down and gave up while the other 7-8 ran like gazelles!”
Massey, the camp’s “commanding officer,” had appeared in numerous videos posted on Facebook and elsewhere that showed the activities involved in Camp Lonestar. They also featured their rationalizations for harassing people at the border: “I’m not anti-immigration,” he told reporters. “I have no problem with immigrants. I have a problem with terrorists. I have a problem with people who are coming to this country to hurt my fellow Americans and to destroy my fellow Americans’ property and livelihood.”
A memorial service for Massey was held Jan. 10 in Quinlan. Massey’s ex-wife declined comment to reporters.