Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.
The white man accused of killing two Black people near Boston on Saturday drew swastikas and referred to white people as “apex predators,” according to Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Nathan Allen, 28, allegedly stole a truck from a plumbing company in Winthrop, Massachusetts, a city of more than 17,000 about six miles east of Boston. He then “crashed it into another vehicle and a property” before walking away from the crash, Rollins said in a statement Sunday.
After crashing the truck, the suspect then allegedly shot 60-year-old Air Force veteran Ramona Cooper three times in the back, Rollins said in a news conference Sunday. She later died at the hospital. Cooper most recently worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to her LinkedIn profile.
“She was a good person,” Cooper’s son, Gary Cooper, told CBS 12. “She was the type of person to help anyone out.”
David Green, 58, a retired Massachusetts state trooper, attempted to stop the suspected shooter after he shot Cooper. The suspected shooter then turned his gun on Green and shot him four times in the head, and another three times in the torso, Rollins said at a news conference Sunday.
Nick Tsiotos, a friend of Green, told WCBV5 that Green “probably stopped [the suspected shooter] from going into homes and killing people.”
"There was no better human being than Dave Green," Tsiotos added. "He really fulfilled everything that was good, the best of humanity."
Cooper and Green were both Black. “[The suspected shooter] walked by several other people that were not Black and they are alive," Rollins said Sunday. "They were not harmed. They are alive and these two visible people of color are not.” Rollins described the murders of Cooper and Green as “executions.”
The murders are being investigated as hate crimes, Rollins said at the news conference. She said Allen had no previous criminal history and “likely appeared unassuming.”
The suspected shooter was later shot and killed by a Winthrop police sergeant, whom Rollins credited with “stopp[ing] a volatile and escalating situation, saving lives, and protecting the community he serves.” A preliminary investigation “has already unearthed troubling white supremacy rhetoric and statements written by the shooter,” Rollins said.
It’s unclear why the suspect was in the area, but Rollins noted there are multiple synagogues there. While the DA said deducing where he was going is “mere speculation at this point,” she noted that Allen “had anti-Semitic rhetoric written in his own hand.”
“There is a growing national, and global, problem with extremism and white supremacy,” Rollins said, citing a March FBI assessment that ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race” present some of “the most lethal domestic violence extremism (DVE) threats.”
Cooper’s son told CBS 12 that the allegation that his mother was killed as a result of white supremacist violence made his family’s loss even harder.
“We’re in 2021,” Gary Cooper said. “We shouldn’t be hating on other people based on the color of their skin but I guess we are not there yet. I got sick to my stomach when I found out it was racially motivated.”
Correction: This story has been updated the age of one of the victims.