John Howald of Montana (USA), who in 2020 shot at the home of a woman identifying as a lesbian, was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The man also planned to attack other members of the LGBTQ+ community. He said he was going to “cleanse the city of his disease”.
Howald was sentenced on June 14. By court decision, a man was sentenced to 18 years in prison for shooting at a house and trying to shoot people, followed by five years under supervision. Howald committed these acts during what the U.S. Department of Justice said in a “self-appointed mission to rid the city of Basin of lesbian, gay and queer people.”
The incident took place on March 22, 2020. “Howald showed up at his first victim’s house and fired several rounds at the building and the entire property. All because of his sexual orientation beliefs. Hoping to kill her, Howald rushed website for other homes inhabited by people who identify as lesbian, gay or queer. It is known that the woman who was the target was in the house at the time of the attack. There is no information that she suffered any injuries.
He intended to “clean the city of Basin of disease”
The statement went on to explain that on his way to other homes he had also targeted, the man met friends who were leaving the church. When they saw Howald armed with several firearms, they talked to him until the police arrived. During the confrontation with the officers, the aggressor allegedly shouted hateful slogans against the LGBTQ+ community and fired more cartridges. He also allegedly aimed his gun at the intervening officer, “almost leading to an exchange of fire in the city center.” He eventually fled towards a nearby forest and was arrested the next day. More weapons were found in his car.
The statement emphasized that Howald wanted his actions to inspire similar attacks across the country. Local newspaper Independent Record reports that after shelling a house in Basin, Howald called his pastor and said he was “going to rid the town of his disease”. The newspaper notes that this is not the man’s first run-in with the law. In the past, he was convicted of killing a dog, decapitating it with a chainsaw and throwing it at its owner.
justice.gov, Vice.com, “Independent Record”
Main photo source: mt.gov