Officers from seven law enforcement agencies, responders from two federal agencies, multiple armored vehicles, a negotiating team and a police helicopter took part in the arrest Friday morning of a North Whidbey man who had been posting online comments about killing gay people and seemed to be especially fixated on the June 18 Anacortes Pride Parade, according to police.
The officers took 27-year-old Tyler R. Dinsmoor into custody on a $1 million warrant at his home on Lyon Road without incident, according to Oak Harbor Police Chief Kevin Dresker.
Dresker said the massive show of law enforcement was due to the nature of Dinsmoor’s online comments, which included violent vitriol aimed at the LGBTQ community and ominous posts about the gay pride parade. The chief said officers were also aware that Dinsmoor owns guns.
It wasn’t the online comments that led to arrest, however, but a homophobic threat he allegedly yelled at a North Whidbey woman on June 14, a police report states.
Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said his office has been working closely with the Oak Harbor Police Department on the case. He said that prosecutors interrupted testimony in a trial June 15 to obtain an arrest warrant, which was authorized by Island County Superior Court Judge Christon Skinner.
Prosecutors charged Dinsmoor in Island County Superior Court June 15 with committing a hate crime, a felony charge.
In asking the judge for the warrant, Deputy Prosecutor Michael Safstrom described Dinsmoor as presenting “an extreme risk of actual violence in the near future.”
Dresker said law enforcement in Island and Skagit counties, as well as Homeland Security, were aware of Dinsmoor’s online posts on Gab.com, a social media platform popular with ultra-conservatives. Concerned citizens have been sending screenshots of Dinsmoor’s posts to police.
Anacortes police and organizers of the June 18 pride parade were also aware of the posts and had planned extra security measures prior to the arrest, according to law enforcement.
Detective Sgt. Jennifer Gravel with the Oak Harbor Police Department wrote in her report on the case that a woman who lives at a North Whidbey home with her wife and children told police that Dinsmoor yelled at her from a nearby house that “it used to be legal to kill gay people,” the report states. The woman said the comment was especially frightening because a neighbor told her that Dinsmoor had previously pointed a gun at the neighbor’s nephew, who is Black, when he went into the yard of a nearby residence to return a fishing pole.
In her report, Gravel details some of Dinsmoor’s online posts, which include videos, photos and written statements. He used an offense slur to refer to people in the LGBTQ community throughout the posts and often referenced the Bible.
In various posts, Dinsmoor wrote that God hates gay people, that “sodomites all deserve to die,” that he wants the death penalty for all gay people and that “all homosexuals are child-rapists in wait, and all (every single one) should be put to death immediately,” the report states. He called another online commenter “a (slur for homosexual) sympathizer worthy of death.” He wrote that “it’s not murder if it’s a justified killing.”
In her report, the detective wrote that Dinsmoor posted an image of the Anacortes parade flyer with the comment “talk me out of it.” He also posted a Photoshopped image of a man with a shoulder holster pointing a handgun at a group of people who appear to be in a gay pride parade, the report states.
This week, Dinsmoor posted that he “was 9mm away from fedposting” two gay people at a store. “Pray for me bro,” the post goes on, “I might not make it through this (offensive term) month,” the report states. The detective explained that “fedposting” is internet slang for something posted online that shows premeditated planning of criminal activity.
Dinsmoor’s posts also include racist, sexist and anti-Semitic comments, the report indicates. He wrote that white people aren’t responsible for the “bad behavior” of Black people and that the best-case scenario is Black and white people living in separate nations, the detective wrote. He wrote that a “career woman” is useless and “an abomination.”
Gardner wrote that she believes Dinsmoor is “an extreme risk to the public, especially the upcoming Pride events in the area.” She noted that he owns a semi-automatic rifle and other guns. The detective recommended that Dinsmoor be ordered to submit to a psychological evaluation if he’s released on bail.
Court documents state that Dinsmoor owns a home-based business called Dinsmoor Sheepskins. In January, he spoke against an affordable housing sales tax at an Island County commissioners’ meeting.