On August 10, 1999, Buford O'Neal Furrow packed a gun and went to town. Buford was a country boy, said to be quiet and seemingly nice according to his neighbors. But, Furrow was a troubled man. By all accounts, he was consumed with hate and filled with anger. The race-mixing ways and the Jew domination had to be stopped. White people had to awaken - and he, so he believed, was their wake-up call.
The North Valley Jewish Community Center was packed with children on the morning of August 11th as most community centers are on warm summer mornings. Furrow parked his van and hijacked a car then drove to the Center. Upon entering, Buford pulled his Uzi sub-machine gun and opened fire injuring five people - Isabelle Shalometh, 68, a receptionist at the center, counselor Mindy Finkelstein, 16, and three little boys, Benjamin Kadish,5, Joshua Stepakoff,6, and James Zidell,6. Investigators determined that in all 70 bullets were fired within the center. But, Buford wasn't finished. He had not quite exacted the toll that he wanted. His thirst for murder had not been sated.
On the morning of August 9th, Joseph "JoJo" Ileto had been assigned by the U.S. Postal Service, where he worked as a fill-in substitute letter-carrier, to cover at the Chatsworth Post Office (San Fernando Valley). Joseph was delivering his route at approximately 11:45 that morning when he was approached by a man asking him to post a letter for him. Ileto was standing by his truck. As he reached for the piece of mail, the man - Buford O'Neal Furrow - pulled a Glock Model 26 9mm and shot Joseph twice. Ileto bent over and attempted to run away. Furrow shot him seven times more in the back until he fell face down to the ground. Buford then got into his car, a stolen Toyota Camry, and drove away, leaving behind the mortally wounded Ileto. When inspectors arrived, Ileto was lying dead in a pool of blood. Furrow would later tell police that he believed Ileto to be a good target because he was non-white and worked for the federal government.
Buford Furrow is an avowed racist and white separatist. Prior to his shooting spree he had served as a security officer in Richard Butler's Aryan Nations compound. A book found in the van abandoned by Furrow, entitled "War Cycles, Peace Cycles," was written by Richard Kelly Hoskins, who is one of the principal ideologues of Christian Identity. While Furrow's sanity has been taken into consideration, it is still believed that Buford was acting as a Phineas Priest. Hard-line Christian Identity adherents, which many members of Aryan Nations are, believe that in order for the second coming of Christ to occur the earth must be swept clean of all satanic elements which, of course, include Jews, non-whites and homosexuals. Those wishing to become "Phineas Priests" initiate themselves with a lone act of violence that lends itself to this ultimate ethnic cleansing. Their "Bible" is another book by Richard Kelly Hoskins entitled "Vigilantes of Christendom: the Story of the Phineas Priesthood". The book encourages its followers to follow the example of the biblical Phineas, grandson of the priest Aaron in the Book of Numbers, who kills a prince of Israel for marrying a woman from another tribe. In return for this deed, Phineas receives the "covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God." The mission of the group is seen as one that will outlaw "interbreeding" and "root sodomites from the land." And the book lists several examples of how to do this one of which is the 1984 slaying of radio talk host Alan Berg by The Order. This in and of itself, is interesting in the Furrow case since Buford Furrow had taken up residency with one Debbie Matthews - the widow of the revered Robert Matthews, founder of The Order.
While most people of sound mind are reviled by the actions of Buford O'Neal Furrow, some on the extreme, racist right are proud of him. They extoll his actions and his dedication to "The Cause." Frequently they speak his name along with McVeigh and members of the order as a hero and martyr and they are quick to defend his actions as being part of the "Racial Holy War" or being the kind of thing that we will see more of as white people become more frustrated and angry over the perceived loss of their rights.
Buford O'Neal Furrow was justly sentenced in March, 2001. U.S. District Judge Nora Manella imposed two life sentences without possibility of parole, plus 110 years in prison and payment of $690,294 in restitution. "Your actions were a reminder that bigotry is alive," the judge told him. "If you've sent a message, it is that even the most violent crimes can strengthen a community."
Last week, in a letter to LA Daily News reporter Kevin Modesti, Furrow claimed:
About 5 yrs. ago I threw away my racist books, literature, etc. and took up a new leaf. I now publicly renounce all bias toward anyone based on race, creed, color, sexual orientation, etc. and am a much happier person. I feel a life based on hate is no life at all.
Those people I hurt, and the man I killed that day in 1999 will probably never forgive me, but I am truely (sic) sorry and deeply regret the pain I caused. My mind was filled with sickness and unfortunately I acted on it. But, I am now a "model" inmate who has shunned criminal activity and spend my day with exercise, art, and learning prison civil law. I can't change the past, but I can damn sure change the future, and my future will never include Neo-Nazi activity again. That is all I can do.
Now, Furrow claims, that he would like to speak about "the evils of hate." Now he is remorseful. Has prison really served to "rehabilitate" Furrow or is this just another situation where 10 yeas after the fact it's in his best interest to renounce his racism publicly?
The Aryan Nations pretty well met its' demise with the death of Richard Butler. Many of the younger members of racist organizations either don't remember Robert Matthews or find little to be admired in the gang known as "The Order." At a time when white supremacy and neo-Nazism is facing a lot of negativity from the populace and from law enforcement, Furrow probably doesn't have a lot of contacts outside of prison walls. Good. Let's keep it that way.