NEW ORLEANS — At least some of the seven people arrested in a fatal shootout with Louisiana deputies have been linked to violent anarchists on the FBI’s domestic terrorism watch lists.
Detectives had been monitoring the group before Thursday’s shootout in Laplace, La., in which two deputies were killed and two more wounded, DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle said Saturday.
His detectives and other law enforcement discovered the suspects were heavily armed adherents to an ideology known as the ‘‘sovereign citizens’’ movement.
The FBI has classified sovereign citizens as people who believe they are free from all duties of a US citizen, like paying taxes.
The FBI considers the group’s members a danger for making threats to judges and law enforcement, using fake currency, and impersonating police officers.
The seven suspects have been charged in the shooting of Deputy Michael Scott Boyington, who survived. But authorities have said murder charges are pending.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was investigating the killings but declined to comment Saturday.
Arrested were the group’s apparent leader, 44-year-old Terry Smith, his wife, Chanel Skains, 37, and his two sons, Derrick Smith, 22, and Brian Lyn Smith, 24. Also arrested were Brittney Keith, the girlfriend of Brian Smith; Kyle David Joekel, 28, and a woman living with him, 21-year-old Teniecha Bright.
Brian Smith was charged with attempted first-degree murder and the others with related charges.
Detectives in Tennessee, Nebraska, and Louisiana have sketched a portrait of an outlaw gang led by Terry Smith, an accused molester who has a criminal record dating to 1984 in Morehouse Parish, the Times-Picayune reported Saturday.
Morehouse Parish Sheriff Mike Stubbs said the Smith family was notorious.
Arbuckle, reached by telephone, said his deputies had the group under surveillance and considered them armed and dangerous before they suddenly left his parish about two months ago.
He said they had set up camp at a mobile home park.