Four people who said they were anti-government “sovereign citizens” made a brief, unauthorized entrance into the California Army National Guard base near Fresno Yosemite International Airport on Thursday afternoon, police reported.
The four – two men with long, “Duck Dynasty”-style beards and two women – reportedly said they were seeking refuge from terrorism. They left on their own a few minutes later.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether they are sought by authorities or will face charges. A Fresno police sergeant said the California Highway Patrol had jurisdiction in the case. The CHP did not immediately respond to a call for more information.
According to the FBI, sovereign citizens are “anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or ‘sovereign’ from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments or law enforcement. Many sovereign citizens don’t pay their taxes and hold illegal courts that issue warrants for judges and police officers.”
Fresno police responded to the guard base shortly after noon after receiving a call reporting that the group was at a building at Clovis Avenue and Airway Boulevard. The police spokesman said the group may have been allowed in by a maintenance man.
Once inside, the group spoke about terrorism and one of the women reportedly said she would “shoot first and ask questions later,” apparently in reference to a confrontation with terrorists.
The group reportedly left in a gray or silver Nissan Xterra.
Several Fresno patrol units were at the base after the group left, and a police tactical team of about a half-dozen officers was at a gas station across the street.