Ark. police shootings have connection to Tri-State - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Ark. police shootings have connection to Tri-State

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By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A shootout in Arkansas that killed two police officers has a connection to the Tri-State.

The van the suspects were driving is registered in New Vienna, in Clinton County, about 60 miles northeast of Cincinnati.

The Mayor of New Vienna, Keith Collins, and the Police Chief, James Holcomb, both say they've never seen that van around town.

It is a small enough community, people pretty much know who's doing what, driving what and where things are happening.

Public records shows the van could be linked to a white supremacist group that was once here in Ohio.

New Vienna, Ohio was the home of the Jesus Christ Christian Church, led by a self proclaimed white supremacist, the Aryan Nation Church and its leader Ray Redfairn, who made headlines 13 years ago.

The van involved in Thursday's shooting in West Memphis, AR, was registered to the House Of God's Prayer, from 143 West Main Street in New Vienna. Clinton County, OH records show the New Vienna property is owned by The Universal Life Of The Good Shepherd Church. It has an address 50 miles away in Middletown, OH.

Butler County records show the Middletown property is owned by Hoge and Mary Tabor. A man named Hoge Tabor is prominently mentioned in a book about the Aryan Nation in Ohio. Tabor told FOX19 on the phone that he indeed owns the New Vienna property, but then hung up the phone.

FOX19 tried knocking on the doors of 143 West Main Street, but the police chief and the mayor said haven't seen anybody walk in or out of that building in years.

"Right now it's vacant," said Chief Holcomb. "There's nothing in that building at all."

"They were part of the Aryan Nation clear back in the 90's but they weren't really active because I think they're main headquarters was somewhere down in Clermont County," Collins said. "So they used this just basically for a base and just a mailing address and held church services back in the 90's."

"The vice mayor gave me a call and says, hey I've got some bad news for you,'" Collins said. "We're in the news again. Unfortunately back in the 90's, when they were having churches and things here it was a black eye for the village."

Collins said they've been working to get around that stigma since then.

"Unfortunately we can't control who buys or sells property here in the village or who uses mailing addresses I can tell you I know the majority of the people here and they are good, honest, God-fearing people."

The mayor said they just finished re-painting the downtown. They're doing all sorts of things to help people discover what a wonderful place they call home. They only hope this latest publicity won't deter people from coming to what he believes is a perfectly safe place. 

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