Before he allegedly robbed a bank, stole a pickup truck, killed a man and then got into a shootout that left him and a young state trooper dead in small town Wisconsin on Tuesday, Steven Snyder was reportedly a racist skinhead with ties to the National Alliance (NA), once the best organized and most dangerous neo-Nazi group in the country.
In 1996, when Snyder was 19, he was part of a group of skinheads, armed with pipes and baseball bats, that attacked a group of blacks and Latinos at their home in Fond du Lac, Wis., according to a Milwaukee television station.
When police arrived, most of the skinheads scattered, but Snyder was captured. Police then discovered, according to the station, that Snyder had white supremacist tattoos and was carrying printed cards promoting the NA. He later spent 50 days in jail for his role in the bloody brawl.
Fast forward 19 years to Tuesday afternoon when a man – later identified as the now 38-year-old Snyder – walked into a bank in the Village of Wausaukee, fired a shot into the ceiling and escaped in an bank employee’s pickup truck with an undisclosed amount of cash.
At 2:30 pm, about 30 minutes after the bank robbery, police were notified that a man, Thomas Christ, 59, had been found dead along the side of a road. Near the body was the stolen pickup truck, its motor still running. It appears Snyder stole Christ’s vehicle to continue his escape.
Three hours later in Fond du Lac, the site of the skinhead brawl, a Wisconsin state trooper, Trevor Casper, 21, spotted Snyder.
The trooper and the suspect exchanged gunfire and both men were killed.
Snyder lived in suburban Detroit, where he ran his own cement mason business. According to New Richmond News, the FBI says Snyder is a suspect in at least two bank robberies that bloody day and other unsolved robberies in and outside of Wisconsin.
Casper, the young state trooper who finally stopped Snyder’s rampage, had just graduated from the State Patrol Academy in December and had completed 12 weeks with a training officer, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Casper was the first Wisconsin state trooper to be fatally shot in the line of duty in nearly 43 years and just minutes away, the Journal said, from completing his first solo shift.