Merced man arrested on way to White House with rifle, ‘hit list’ compiled from TikTok

Wreaths decorate the White House
Wreaths decorate the White House on Dec. 23 in Washington, D.C. A California man was arrested in Iowa on his way to the White House after authorities said he intended to “kill persons in power.”
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

A California man was arrested last week in Iowa after telling police he was driving straight to the White House “to kill persons in power” and was found with an assault rifle and body armor, according to federal court records.

Kuachua Brillion Xiong, 25, of Merced was pulled over for driving aggressively on Interstate 80 in Cass County, Iowa, on Dec. 21. He had an AR-15-type rifle, ammunition and a grappling hook, among other items, authorities said.

He told a sheriff’s deputy that he disapproved of the government and President Biden and that he was traveling to Washington, D.C. He was carrying a “hit list” of targets saved from TikTok videos, according to a six-page criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of Iowa and unsealed Wednesday.

Authorities described Xiong’s vehicle as “lived in,” with several empty cans of Red Bull energy drink.

Xiong agreed to let Cass County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tyler Shiels search his car and admitted he had a weapon and ammunition. Shiels found loaded magazines, boxes of ammunition, several items of body armor and medical kits, according to his report.

Xiong said he was not suicidal but would use the weapons to defend himself. Police also found money in the vehicle “earmarked” for Xiong’s funeral expenses, and his GPS was set for the White House.


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Shiels said Xiong complied when he was taken in for questioning. According to online records, Xiong was booked in Pottawattamie County in Iowa shortly after 4:30 p.m. Dec. 21.

Xiong admitted to a U.S. Secret Service agent that up until a few months ago, he had worked at a grocery store in Merced to maintain his “cover” until he was called upon by God to “combat evil demons in the White House.”

“Xiong believes that he is the only person remaining who can free the United States of evil and it is necessary for him to kill those in positions of power,” Special Agent Justin Larson with the Secret Service said in the affidavit.

Investigators said Xiong allowed them to look at his phone to corroborate his claims. His calendar and notes included entries for “survive supplies” on Oct. 19; “safe life defense order,” which was related to body armor, on Oct. 19; and “rifle pickup” on Oct. 29, with a “silencer order” on Nov. 5 and “save USA” on Nov. 20-21 and Nov. 27, according to the affidavit.

Sometime around Dec. 18, Xiong left his home near Sacramento and started driving to the White House. He told investigators he downloaded TikTok videos on his phone to compile a list of individuals he intended to kill, which included politicians and public figures.

There were approximately 100 videos on Xiong’s “hit list,” according to investigators. Targets included former Presidents Clinton and Obama, White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, according to the affidavit.

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He also detailed his plan to get into the White House through what he described as a “weak spot” and how he would use a grappling hook to climb over the perimeter fencing. Xiong told investigators he would “do whatever it takes” to complete his plan, and if he were released from custody, he would continue traveling to the White House.

“Xiong stated that he has no intention of returning to California to see his family because he plans on dying while fighting evil demons at the White House,” according to the affidavit.

The arrest and court filing were first made public in a tweet on Wednesday by Seamus Hughes, a counterterrorism expert who is the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. The docket and affidavit are publicly available on the federal court’s online records-retrieval system.

A Pinterest account with Xiong’s name shows pinned images with angel iconography, swords, knives and body armor.

Xiong is scheduled to appear before a federal judge in a detention hearing Thursday. The federal government says he should remain in custody for making a threat against a former president, which is a federal crime.