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Suspect caught with high-profile ‘hit list’ held for mental health check

Prosecutors requested the evaluation after the California man's attorney filed notice of an insanity defense.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (CN) — A California man stopped on an Iowa highway with what police say was an AR-15-like rifle, a kill list, and the "intention of driving straight to the White House in Washington, D.C. to kill persons in power" will be held for a mental health evaluation, a federal judge ordered Wednesday.

The purpose will be to examine defendant Kuachua Brillion Xiong's sanity and competency, said U.S. Magistrate Judge Helen C. Adams during a hearing in Council Bluffs, Iowa, late Wednesday morning.

Xiong, 25, a young man of modest height, black-rimmed glasses, and a wispy goatee, sat in silence, his wrists and ankles shackled. His attorney, Michael F. Maloney of the Federal Public Defender's Office in Sioux City, declined to comment afterward.

Authorities suspect Xiong of violating a federal law that bars making threats against a former president. According to the affidavit accompanying a criminal complaint, Xiong's kill list included former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg.

Maloney filed notice with the court Dec. 30 of his intent to rely on an insanity defense. Prosecutors followed that notice Tuesday with a request for a mental health evaluation under seal.

According to the affidavit, a sergeant with the Cass County, Iowa, sheriff's office stopped Xiong on Dec. 21 along eastbound Interstate 80 after the sergeant noticed him "driving aggressively, weaving in and out of traffic, and speeding."

Xiong told the sergeant he was traveling to Washington to take pictures and because he didn't know how much time he had on Earth. He had recently been fired from his job for what he thought to be an invalid reason, and said getting a hotel would not be necessary, the affidavit says.

Xiong steered the conversation to his "disapproval for government due to the sex abuse of children" and that this behavior needed to be dealt with. Xiong said he possessed an AR-15-style rifle and ammo, the affidavit says. When searching the vehicle, the sergeant found the rifle, loaded magazines, boxes of ammunition, medical kits and pieces of body armor, as well as several empty Red Bull cans.

An Adair, Iowa, police officer assisting the sergeant found money in the vehicle earmarked for Xiong's funeral expenses, and the address of the White House programed into the GPS.

During an interview with two Secret Service agents later that day, Xiong said he worked at a grocery store in Merced, California, as cover until God called upon him to "combat evil demons in the White House." Xiong told the agents he left his home near Sacramento around Dec. 18.

Xiong used videos downloaded from TikTok to compile a list of those he intended to kill. He said he would also kill President Joe Biden "unless he promised to comply to Xiong's demands," the affidavit says.

He then told the agents of his plan to gain access to the White House, including his identification of what he considered to be a "weak spot." He planned to use a grappling hook to climb the fence around the grounds, the affidavit says.

A detention hearing may take place once the examination is complete, Adams said. Xiong is being held at the Pottawattamie County Jail in Council Bluffs, but the evaluation will be conducted at a Bureau of Prison facility.

Police also ticketed Xiong on suspicion of driving 16-20 mph over the speed limit, according to Iowa court records.

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Categories / Criminal, Health

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