According to police in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, on July 3 they received calls of an accident. When they arrived the found 55-year-old Phillip Thiessen, who had been out for a ride on his Harley, dead in the street. The driver of the truck that killed Thiessen, 27-year-old Daniel Navarro was uninjured and told police at the scene that he’d swerved into oncoming traffic on purpose. Under questioning later Navarro gave police his reason for the crash:
“Navarro said that if President Donald Trump and white people are going to create the world we are living in, he has no choice and that people are going to have to die,” [County Sheriff Ryan] Waldschmidt said.
According to the criminal complaint, Navarro told police he had been a target of racism, because he is Mexican.
“People drive by his house and rev their engines and squeal their tires to try to upset him and that people make racist comments toward him, all because he is Hispanic,” said Waldschmidt…
Police say Navarro recognized the motorcycle as a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. According to investigators, Navarro said that, in Wisconsin, only white people drive Harleys and that he believes people who drive Harley-Davidson motorcycles are typically “white racists.”
“He chose a motorcycle instead of a car, because he wanted the driver to die, and not just be injured or paralyzed,” Waldschmidt said.
Navarro wasn’t intoxicated when this happened but there’s some evidence that he may have underlying mental problems. No one is directly claiming that (that I’ve seen) but here’s what Navarro told police about why he has a hatred for white people:
During interviews with detectives, Navarro said he believed he had been intentionally contaminated with a chemical sterilizer on his jacket by an employment supervisor in Ripon approximately a year and a half ago.
He went on to say, according to the complaint, that a friend poisoned him a year and a half ago, that he is still being poisoned by a neighbor and that he could hear one of his neighbors making racist comments through the walls of this residence.
Navarro told detectives that those who are poisoning him, giving him acid, and making racist comments are all Caucasian and targeting Navarro because he is Mexican.
When people are hearing things through the walls that sounds like paranoid schizophrenia to me. There’s also this:
Navarro was charged in 2019 with disorderly conduct in connection to a domestic violence incident. The charge dismissed by the court. At the time officers attempted to have Navarro placed on a 72-hour mental health hold, but the request was denied, according to court records.
Phillip Thiessen, the victim, served four years in the Marines and then worked as a police officer in Fairfax, Virginia for 26 years (which happens to be next door to where I grew up). After retiring from that job, Thiessen returned to Wisconsin he got a job working for the Wisconsin Department of Justice investigating internet crimes against children. He had retired from that job in 2018 at which point he moved back to his hometown of Fond du Lac so he could be near his family. He was a volunteer at a local food panty. All in all, someone who devoted his life to serving his country and his community. Here’s a photo of him riding his Harley.
Navarro is facing first degree murder charges and, because of the racial animus involved, the case is being treated as a hate crime. Given that Navarro has basically confessed to everything it’s not clear if there will be much of a trial. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if undiagnosed mental issues are raised by his defense.
Even if that is the case, those mental issues seem to have a very particular bent, one that just happens to line up with a lot of what we’re hearing in the media for the last few months. Navarro may not have been hearing his neighbors through the walls but he seems to have been tuned in to something. This is where the national media would normally step in to discuss the “climate of hate” that motivated this violence, at least that’s what would have happened if the racial identities of perpetrator and victim had been other than they are. As it is, this story seems to be mostly limited to local news coverage.