DENVER – A Colorado man was denied his attempt to buy an AR-15-style rifle from a store in Iowa on Tuesday after he made comments about being surprised friends had not called him to see if he was the suspect in the Boulder King Soopers shooting, according to federal court documents unsealed Friday.
Adam Vannoy was originally arrested after a traffic stop in Lancaster County, Nebraska on March 14 on Interstate 80 after another driver called to report that a vehicle with the Colorado plate “NOHATE” had been tailgating him, passing him, and speeding at up to 120 miles per hour.
According to an affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, a Nebraska State Trooper pulled Vannoy over near Waverly, Nebraska around 11:30 a.m. that day. Inside the vehicle, the trooper found a Sig Sauer P365 on his person, a loaded AM-15 rifle and an unregistered silencer, another rifle, containers of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, a Kevlar blanket, two wigs, an Air Force jumpsuit costume and body camera. The affidavit says six firearms were recovered from the vehicle.
Vannoy said he was moving from Denver after experiencing a mental breakdown but also told the trooper he did not know to where he was moving, though his family lived in Pennsylvania. He also told the trooper that he was "a firearms enthusiast," according to the affidavit, which was written by an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Vannoy was arrested and taken to jail. On the way there, according to the affidavit, Vannoy allegedly told the trooper that “he was going to use his time in jail to think about getting even with people,” which the trooper took to believe was a threat.
The next day, March 15, a trooper went to the jail and was told Vannoy had made “numerous threats toward guards, threatening to kill one of them, exposed his penis to the guards, and had thrown his feces from his cell into the common holding area,” the affidavit says.
He was released from the Lancaster County jail on March 17 on a $5,000 bond.
The affidavit says on March 23, the day after the Boulder shooting in which 10 people were killed, Vannoy tried to buy “an AR-15 style rifle” from a Sportsman’s Warehouse store in Ankeny, Iowa.
But his purchase was denied after he allegedly told employees “that he was surprised that his friends hadn’t called him to see if it was him in the mass shooting in Colorado,” the affidavit says. He also allegedly said he had 500 rounds of ammunition in his truck.
The affidavit says the store denied the sale and notified the ATF because of “the recent event of a mass shooting in Colorado and Vannoy’s statement.”
The criminal complaint and affidavit say that Vannoy faces potential federal charges of transporting firearms in interstate commerce and marijuana possession.
The Associated Press reported he was arrested again this week on the new federal charges stemming from the Nebraska traffic stop and that he was due in court Friday afternoon.