The Ottawa Citizen (Canada), May 18, 2003
Gary Dimmock, The Ottawa Citizen
An American white supremacist wanted for the 1994 sniper shooting of a Missouri state trooper, a “revenge mission” for the arrest of his cult leader, may now be hiding in Canada, FBI intelligence reports say.
FBI agents tracking Timothy T. Coombs, also known as Cal Liberty, believe he may have enlisted a trusted network of friends and relatives to establish a new identity and home to avoid prosecution.
Branded a “domestic terrorist” by the U.S. government, the 44-year-old fugitive is a master of disguise.
He has worked as a tree planter and volunteer firefighter.
His alleged revenge killing was hatched the day his cult leader, Robert Joos, was arrested in the summer of 1994. The self-proclaimed founder of Sacerdotal Order of the David Company was arrested by Cpl. Bobbie Harper, a married father of three children.
Three months later, on Sept. 16, 1994, FBI agents say Mr. Coombs left his Arkansas home with a high-powered rifle under his arm and murder on his mind. After driving across the state line, Mr. Coombs parked near the state trooper’s rural home, then positioned himself in the backyard, lying in wait.
Cpl. Harper and his wife, Kay, were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary at home with their daughter.
They had just finished dinner, and Cpl. Harper was fixing a bowl of ice cream by the kitchen sink. At 9:19 p.m., the sniper zeroed in on the trooper and fired from 100 metres away.
The shot went through the kitchen window, hitting Cpl. Harper in the chest. The trooper suffered serious internal injuries, was forced into retirement and died two years later in hospital.
“The motivation behind the attack is believed to be retaliation by Coombs against law enforcement for the incarceration in Missouri of his close friend,” the FBI said in a statement.
“The Joint Terrorism Task Force believes the sniper shooting was in support of Coombs’ extremely radical, anti-government and white supremacist beliefs,” the FBI said.
A $10,000 reward and hundreds of leads have turned up nothing.
Nine years later, one of the United States’s most wanted fugitives is still at large.
That he has eluded authorities for so long has led investigators to believe his network of sympathizers is highly organized.
Mr. Coombs, believed to be armed with a .45 semi-automatic pistol, is considered “extremely violent” and likely to resist arrest.
He routinely alters his appearance dramatically to avoid detection.
His aliases include: Tim Coombs, Cai Liberty, Cal Liberty, William Patterson, James Wilson and James Mason.
It is not known where he is, but the FBI has listed 13 states and Canada as likely hideouts. Mr. Coombs, a Caucasian with a slender build, is around 5′ 7” with blue eyes and brown hair.