The Associated Press
Jul 24, 2002 : 4:22 pm ET
BENSON, N.C. — A Ku Klux Klansman who allegedly plotted to blow up several Johnston County offices is considered a “hothead” even among national leaders of the hate group.
Charles Robert “Junior” Barefoot Jr. was charged last week with a federal firearms violation after a confidential source tipped off the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.
Agents raided Barefoot’s home near Benson and found a cache of more than two dozen weapons, including an Uzi and an AK-47, two homemade bombs, bomb-making equipment and a purple robe that agents identified as a Klan robe. Sheriff’s deputies also found a cross that appeared to be burned.
“I told him he was heading for trouble,” Railton Loy, the Imperial Wizard of The National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, told the News & Observer of Raleigh. “They were trying to do movie-style things.”
Until last year, Barefoot was one of Loy’s loyal followers and Grand Dragon of the North Carolina chapter of Loy’s Indiana-based KKK group. But the two had a falling-out, Loy said, and Barefoot formed a splinter group, The Nation’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
“He e-mailed me last year and told me we weren’t aggressive enough,” Loy said. “He said he could do it better on his own.”
Loy’s own group is considered aggressive by some, including law enforcement officials in Indiana. The group has been sued for holding firearms exercises on their property, and Loy’s son, Richard, is accused of threatening to slit the throat of a woman who opposed the group’s views.
But Railton Loy called Barefoot a “hothead” who had anti-government views. “He wanted to go back to the days of the 1920s, knocking heads together,” Loy said.
National experts said a growing group would contradict national trends that show the Klan is declining.
Many say the Klan has all but died after battling costly lawsuits and social ostracism.
Joe Roy, who tracks hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center, estimates there are 3,000 to 7,500 Klan members in the United States. He said the Klan has had a slight dip in membership this year, while membership in other hate groups is on the rise by about 12 percent.