[Cross-posted at Hatewatch.]
A Minnesota man who had been making an independent feature film depicting the coming imposition of a “New World Order” dictatorship in America was found dead with his family over the weekend. Police investigating the scene told reporters that the case appeared to be a murder-suicide, but the man’s conspiracist supporters have been claiming instead that he was murdered by the government.
David T. Crowley, 29, was found dead, along with his wife Komel, 28, and daughter Rani, 5, in their suburban Apple Valley home south of Minneapolis by a neighbor checking on the home. Investigators said it appeared that the bodies had been there for several weeks – probably since before Christmas – and deemed it a probable murder-suicide, with Crowley the apparent perpetrator.
However, in the conspiracy-theory industry in which Crowley operated his home-based filmmaking business, the deaths were immediately assumed to be assassinations carried out by nefarious “New World Order” agents.
At Alex Jones’ InfoWars site, the news story reporting on the deaths described the “suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths,” namely, “the controversial nature of Crowley’s latest project, entitled Gray State, a highly-anticipated independent film envisioning a brutal police state, martial law crackdown, complete with biometric identification, a ubiquitous surveillance state and FEMA stormtroopers rounding dissidents up into camps.”
Indeed, a look at the trailer that Crowley had created for Gray State reveals it to be an attempt to mount on film nearly every fever-dream conspiracy theory about the New World Order of the past ten years:
Crowley successfully raised over $60,000 in 2012 in an Indiegogo campaign to make the film, and a number of scenes were filmed on sets with professional actors. These included scenes involving roundups and executions of American citizens, home surveillance, and forcing children to have chips implanted in their bodies.
Crowley’s project was enthusiastically supported by members of the antigovernment Patriot movement, where most of these conspiracy theories originate, and Crowley was interviewed by Alex Jones for his radio show. He also apparently was well connected to the far-right “Oath Keepers” movement, frequently posting their material on the film’s Facebook page.
In one Facebook photo posted in January 2014, Crowley can be seen conferring with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and far-right pastor Chuck Baldwin, among others. Another Facebook photo meme lionizes “III Percent” movement founder Mike Vanderboegh. Posted in late November, that was one of Crowley’s last posts.
His neighbors told KARE-TV that they had not seen Crowley for several weeks, and finally grew suspicious as packages began to pile up on the family’s doorstep.
The neighbor who found the bodies told reporters that he remembered awakening one night in December to what sounded like gunshots, but then they stopped and he thought nothing more of it until checking on the Crowleys’ home. He said a dog had been apparently inside with the bodies.
Crowley was an Army veteran who had served in Iraq. At his LinkedIn profile, he explained: “After five years I had enough and left to pursue filmmaking.”
Crowley’s wife was a dietitian who ran a business called Mind Body Dietitian. She and her daughter Rani can be seen in a video that Crowley shot to promote a “documentary” he also planned in support of his feature film, to be titled Gray State: The Rise. The video shows him at home devising lighting for specific shots he had planned.
At the Facebook page for Gray State: The Rise, the person overseeing the site posted a notice about the deaths, saying: “Gray State founder, director and screenwriter David Crowley and his family have passed away. Please pray for their families and friends of which they had many.
“We will try and keep you all posted, but this page will go dark for awhile as the future of Gray State is uncertain.”
Stewart Rhodes chimed in, saying: “I was honored to know David, to see him work, and to help, in a small way, with this project. This is a great and tragic loss, and comes as such a shock.”
Elsewhere, he added: “As others have already said, Gray State the movie needs to be made. I hope Mitch and others involved will see it finished, as a tribute to David and his family, and to complete his mission. Such a movie would be immensely powerful, and a potential game changer, which is why we are all so suspicious that there was external foul play involved in this tragedy. If the project is carried on, I pledge all assistance possible from Oath Keepers to see it made.”
Rhodes’ notes of suspicion were among some of the more restrained comments coming from the ranks of Crowley’s conspiracist cohort. One site’s headline on the case asked: “Who really murdered them?”
Commenters at the Gray State Facebook page were far more certain that the family had been “suicided” – a term popular with conspiracy theorists who believe that nefarious New World Order assassins frequently kill the people who try to expose them by staging their deaths and making it appear to be suicide.
“The Creator of Gray State was killed by our Gov't... watch the Concept trailer,” wrote one. “This will shine some light on what this movie was about and will have you know why he was murdered by our Gov't. Everyone knows except those who haven't seen this yet.”
“Saddened to [hear] that making a film is what it takes for the feds to come and murder your whole family!” wrote another.
“DEMAND JUSTICE FOR DAVID CROWLEY! We must not allow his good name to be soiled. He did not kill anyone, this was an assassination!” wrote one poster who was especially persistent in pursuing this claim. In another post, he wrote: “DAVID CROWLEY WAS ASSASSINATED!! No doubts. He is not part of a psyop but a real person, one of the major players behind exposing the horror of the upcoming police state.”
He then apparently set up a Facebook page dedicated to the concept. “David Crowley and his family were murdered by those who want to shut down the Gray State project,” it says. “Help expose what really happened and demand justice.”
One of his admirers posted a video of Crowley speaking at a “Ron Paul Festival” held in Tampa, Fla., in 2012, while he was raising funds for the film:
“This man did NOT kill himself. He was SUICIDED,” wrote the post’s author.