Tennessee man who allegedly planned to shoot migrants in Texas not a terrorist, son says

The man's arrest came after Texas Democrats warned that Gov. Greg Abbott's rhetoric about a migrant 'invasion' could lead to violence.

click to enlarge A group of migrants seeking U.S. asylum walk down a road beside the Rio Grande River to turn themselves in to the Border Patrol. - Shutterstock / Vic Hinterlang
Shutterstock / Vic Hinterlang
A group of migrants seeking U.S. asylum walk down a road beside the Rio Grande River to turn themselves in to the Border Patrol.
The son of a Tennessee man accused of violating federal firearms laws as part of a plan to shoot migrants on Texas-Mexico border told NBC News his father isn't a domestic terrorist but someone struggling with mental health issues.

The FBI arrested Paul Faye, 55, Monday on a single charge of possession of an unregistered firearm or silencer, according to a criminal complaint. During a nearly year-long undercover investigation, Faye told an agent he was a sniper for a militia that planned to "stir the hornet's nest" on the border and incite a war with the federal government, according to the document.

"He's not a sniper," Faye's son, Joseph, told NBC. "We went hunting, and my dad had to shoot at a deer standing still three different times before he hit it. He's not a sniper."

Joseph Faye, 30, described the federal government's notion that his father is a domestic terrorist as "ridiculous." Instead, he told NBC his father is a "compulsive liar" who lives in a trailer next to his ex-wife's house.

The FBI began investigating Faye after two of his alleged acquaintances, Bryan C. Perry and Jonathan S. O'Dell, were arrested on charges of conspiracy to murder federal employees and officers in October 2022. The pair also face other charges.

Perry and O'Dell were members of the 2nd American Militia and were actively recruiting people on TikTok to join them on a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border with the intent of "shooting to kill," according to federal authorities.

Undercover agents befriended Faye after it was discovered that he had extensive contact with Perry, according to the federal complaint against Faye.

"I said, 'They're feds, they're undercover cops,' and he said, 'No they're not," Joseph Faye told NBC News. "Every time they came to see us, they'd be in different vehicles. They always brought ARs. Once, we went camping with my family, and the next thing I knew, they showed up. I told my dad, 'They're feds, no doubt about it.'"

Although Joseph Faye maintains that his father isn't a domestic terrorist, the charges against Perry and O'Dell involve more than just talking about taking action against the federal government. When the FBI tried to serve a search warrant to they pair in October 2022, they opened fire on the federal agents, shooting 11 rounds, according to the criminal complaint.

Perry and O'Dell were indicted by a grand jury last year on charges of conspiracy to murder a federal officer, conspiracy to assault a federal officer, attempted murder of a federal officer and assault of a federal officer, according to court documents.

News of the militia's conspiracy to shoot migrants and federal agents in Texas comes as Texas Democrats warned the media and the public that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's "migrant invasion" rhetoric could incite violence.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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