A Missouri man who pulled the emergency brake to bring an Amtrak train to an abrupt stop in western Nebraska about a year ago has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.
26-year-old Taylor Michael Wilson of St. Charles claims membership in the Nationalist Socialist Movement and had traveled to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier last year that left a counter-protestor dead.
Train conductors subdued Wilson, who was armed with a .38-caliber pistol.
The United States Attorney’s Office says Wilson was sentenced in federal court in Lincoln for violence against a transportation system and possession of an unregistered short barrel rifle.
Wilson will be placed on five years of supervised release once he completes his prison sentence. He also must make restitution of $9,350 to Amtrak.
Federal prosecutors say Wilson boarded the Amtrak train in California on October 19th of last year. Near Furnas County, Nebraska, Wilson broke into the engine compartment of the train, cut the lights to the passenger compartment, and disabled the train.
The sudden stop panicked some passengers who tried to escape the train through the windows.
As conductors subdued Wilson, he stated he was “trying to save the train from black people.”
Law enforcement arrived at the train, took his gun, and took Wilson into custody.
The incident led to a search of Wilson’s residence in St. Charles during which investigators discovered an unregistered short barrel rifle, a copy of Mein Kampf, and a play Wilson wrote about taking over America.
Federal District Judge John Gerrard sentenced Wilson for disabling the Amtrak train.
“On that day, October 21, 2017, you were a gun-toting, angry…white supremacist,” Gerrard said during sentencing. “Fortunately for Wilson and for others, Wilson was caught while committing this particularly senseless and violent act.”
United States Attorney Joe Kelly said the sentence sends an important message that racially motivated crimes will not be tolerated. Kelly commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Furnas and Harlan County Sheriff’s Offices and Assistant United States Attorney Lesley Woods for their hard work.