DEBUNKING: The Asheville bomb arrest, Confederate Fursuiter, and Midwest Furfest attack
by Patch O'Furr
The 2014 Midwest Furfest chemical attack is one of the biggest unsolved crimes in furry fandom. It has a main suspect who was raided by the FBI, and they found physical evidence (read below). His name is Robert “Magnus Diridian” Sojkowski, also known as the Confederate Fursuiter.
In separate news from July 2022, two men in Asheville, North Carolina face terror charges in a bomb incident. One is a furry and subject of online rumors. His name is Chioke “Tech Coyote” Fugate.
That’s two separate crimes, with two separate suspects… but when the news about Fugate came out, rumors named him as the Confederate Fursuiter. This is critically misleading. Sojkowski made the suit in 2015 and stayed the ongoing owner and wearer, so the identity belongs to him. The mixup came from a meeting in 2017 where Fugate took photos with the suit and possibly wore it once. Why is it a big deal? It led to falsely naming Fugate for the Midwest Furfest attack he had nothing to do with (he was 14 in 2014).
Huge Twitter accounts fueled rumors that Fugate “was the one behind the MFF Chlorine bombing years back” (1) (2) (3), causing many deletions and corrections (4) (5) (6). It’s critical to untangle the two suspects. Remember, the mixup would help both to deny and mislead — and both have records of doing exactly that — so let’s set the record straight.
Mistaken info is going around that mixes up 2 nazifurs. Tech Coyote is not the confederate fursuiter. Tech took a photo with it in 2017 but Magnus Diridian is the maker and regular wearer. We have a unique video from Magnus in 2020 suiting in an empty parking lot. Screencap here. https://t.co/oK5oezeZhL pic.twitter.com/5MSP7YWrcS
— Nazifur Receipts (@NazifurReceipts) July 9, 2022
Chioke “Tech Coyote” Fugate and the Asheville bomb incident – the reason for the hype
- 6/30/22: Man accused of being armed at Asheville protest is arrested; second man still sought (WLOS)
- 7/4/22: Asheville PD calls ‘ANTIFA’ email threatening (WJHL)
- 7/5/22: 2 accused of igniting explosive devices in downtown Asheville; Persons of interest sought (WLOS)
- 7/5/22: Demonstrators arrested for explosion at Asheville park, police say (WYFF4)
- Reddit r/asheville post with 97 comments including some local witnesses
The Asheville news concerns protesting about Roe v. Wade, and the arrest of Florida man Duncan Small for a weapons charge. His then-unknown associate (Fugate) was sought for being armed. The next week, police received a threat about protests signed “ANTIFA” from a hotmail address (indicating a ruse or prank-type sender). Then Duncan Small was arrested again with Chioke Fugate, on terror charges for exploding devices “similar to pipe bombs” at the empty base for a dismantled monument to a Confederate general. Small had zip-tie restraints and an anti-government pamphlet. There was a flare gun and replica gun believed to be Fugate’s and his body armor, gas mask, and more. Fugate was quickly out of jail on a $15,000 bond.
DOGPATCH PRESS OPINION ON FUGATE’S CHARGES: Tech Coyote was known in fandom, so we can go beyond mainstream news with inside reporting. Tech is back in the fandom now, with help from right-wing group owners. His posts cite lawyer advice to avoid talking too much. Questions sent to his account were read and he chose not to explain his side. From inside sources and a receipts channel:
- Tech was a kid with development issues and social problems in life and fandom.
- He gained a bad reputation and community bans while joining Nazifurs like the Furry Raiders and other Altfurry hate groups on the right-wing fringe.
- His motivation included collecting and displaying Nazi and Confederate symbols, guns and military gear.
- Tech protested his reputation by claiming to oppose nazis and the left equally and saying he was just a collector for the aesthetic.
- It’s partially true because his social problems rose inside fringe groups, they fell out, and at one point he burned his Furry Raiders armband.
- It’s not true because he wants things both ways to sympathize with the far-right while posing as more separate than he is.
- He chronically confabulates fake stories about being in gun or knife fights, with injury photos taken off the web to glorify himself.
- Ideologically this looks like an unreliable person who can’t fully compute his beliefs, behavior, groups, and reputation – a classic fringe group follower.
- The takeaway: it’s hard to guess the true motivation behind his current trouble… false-flag provocation or naive bumbling?
- The truth could come from learning about his relationship with Duncan Small (it’s unclear if he is furry). Background indicates Small is personally pro-choice, anti-Confederate, and anti-government, and got in trouble from bad judgement. Tech may have been helping his left-ish friend as an excuse to blow things up on July 4. It could make him less of a terrorist than a fool who got in trouble for Beavis and Butthead stunts — as the small $15,000 bond hints — but his history speaks for itself, and everyone saw this coming.
Robert “Magnus Diridian” Sojkowski and the 2014 Midwest Furfest chemical attack – the suspect who got mixed up
Three Dogpatch Press articles from 2017-2018 make extensive reporting on Sojkowski. The sources are police investigation and reporting about it in mainstream news, like the Vice story CSI Fur Fest: The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention by Jennifer Swann (which made the Ursa Major Awards list.) There’s Sojkowski’s long crime record, furry con ban letters, personal journals, and exclusive interviews. His hotel roommates during the 2014 Midwest Furfest attack had never been questioned by police or anyone else, until they were interviewed by Dogpatch Press. Multiple of Sojkowski’s other roommates and associates provided info. Sojkowski was an associate of Furry Raiders founder Foxler, whose admins tipped the FBI and leaked info about Foxler’s alleged knowledge of the attack. Sojkowski’s boyfriend sent personal messages, and Dogpatch Press interviewed Sojkowski himself.
- Sojkoswki admitted being raided by the FBI, and questioned 4 times by police about the Midwest Furfest attack.
- At Sojkowski’s home, the FBI found red duct tape used in the chemical device (he claimed it belonged to his roommate.)
- His roommate posted a journal about being harmed by the attack and questioned by police.
- Sojkowski worked as a lifeguard, who would have access to large amounts of untraceable chlorine.
- He drove to Midwest Furfest from Wisconsin, so wouldn’t need air travel to have chlorine.
- Sojkowski had a long felony crime record going back to the 1990’s, including jail for a chemical attack on a bank.
- The bank chemical attack was a prank for petty revenge (about an overdraft fee) that did serious harm, which Sojkowski downplayed.
- A petty revenge motive against Midwest Furfest was found in the exclusive interview with Sojkowski’s hotel roommates; he was mad at con staff for threatening to yank his badge for running drunk in the street in suit.
- The attack caused a diabetic emergency to his hotel roommate’s friend, but in Sojkowski’s journals afterward, he only focused on the media attention.
- After the attack, he kept being banned for nuisances and crimes at cons.
- When Anthrocon banned him, he said his Confederate Fursuit was a protest at takedown of Confederate flags after the Dylan Roof mass shooting.
- Sojkowski was banned from Midwest Furfest, but came back to stir up a nuisance after his Anthrocon ban and was arrested for trespassing.
- An info leak from the Furry Raiders connected to FBI tips that the founder Foxler boasted of knowing who did the Midwest Furfest chemical attack.
- In Colorado, Foxler was visited by the FBI. He posted the agent’s card, who wasn’t local, connecting Chicago and the Midwest Furfest case. This pairs with subsequent evasion by Sojkowski.
- When Sojkowski was questioned about Foxler, he wouldn’t answer, then admitted knowing Foxler before the attack (when it was much rarer to know him.)
- Sojkowski gave a baseless name for the 2014 chemical attack (Skrat), and also tried to evade admitting arrest for trespassing at Midwest Furfest in 2018.
DOGPATCH PRESS OPINION FOR WHY SOJKOWSKI WASN’T CHARGED: This evidence could have gotten bolder featuring in the 2018 Sojkowski interview. The article hedged, because the police investigation was allowed to go cold and nobody was charged:
- Police botched the chemical testing, according to Vice News; this could be crucial to prove motive, even though they knew it was deliberate.
- There were no cameras at the Midwest Furfest hotel, and the hotel had masked people everywhere.
- A crime scene like that makes highest deniability for a single suspect acting randomly, which fits Sojkowski’s history of petty revenge.
- It’s easier to get a group to snitch on each other; proving “beyond a reasonable doubt” on one person is the hardest burden.
- It’s expensive to try one person on major charges, which could backfire and clear them with acquittal.
- Assume low priority for weird gay furries, with less concern for minority and alternative groups from the police.
- Not charging Sojkowski or letting him clear his name in court leaves suspicion to keep watching him.
- He WAS still watched: after his interview, an angry Sojkowski tried to get a Dogpatch Press home address and was visited by police to warn him off.
What are the alternative suspects? Rumors named Foxler, Skrat, Ryan Hill, and a theorized latex chlorination accident. None of these work. The latex chlorination theory is the most commonly accepted, but the type of chlorine used for latex is not the powdered kind used in the attack, and “authorities deemed it a deliberate, criminal act“. Foxler wasn’t in Chicago. Skrat was baselessly named by Sojkowski himself. Ryan Hill is a mentally disabled man who had no connection besides a history of threats that got him briefly looked at by police before they ruled him out. This leaves only Sojkowski. It’s obligatory to say he’s not convicted but you can use personal judgement about the evidence.
How the mixup spread despite immediate correction
The arrest of Chioke Fugate was ripe for culture war controversy, with terror charges, supposed “Antifa” activity, and his own furry and far-right absurdity. It quickly fueled falsehoods from Andy Ngo, a discredited right-wing propagandist. Ngo called Fugate Antifa while obviously not knowing much about him. Ngo lied; Fugate was a fan of Ngo himself. Ngo misled over a million Twitter followers.
Meanwhile, left-wing accounts were misleadingly identifying Fugate as the Confederate Fursuiter. That was set off in a Youtube video by Labb Ratt. (It did have good intentions to feature Fugate’s 2017 meeting with Sojkowski without knowing the full context). Labb Ratt was contacted right away with more context, and helpfully posted a correction, but the Midwest Furfest attack mixup was already out and boosted to hundreds of thousands of left-wing Twitter followers.
This mixup was a combination of bad intentions to lie on the right, good intentions without context on the left, and Twitter’s inflammatory nature to spread bullshit beyond containment.
It’s a cautionary story about hot takes and knee-jerk reactions, verifying and trust, the danger of unmoderated media platforms, and the importance of keeping records (especially with coordination between mainstream news and furry news).
Update: Tech was arrested again with a new charge and higher bail shortly after this report. The charge didn’t say why, it indicated “flight risk” so it’s not clear if it means he did something else or it was just part of the investigation process.
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