A Wisconsin QAnon believer shot soldiers with a paintball gun days after traveling to DC in hopes of a phony Trump inauguration, federal investigators say

A Wisconsin QAnon believer shot soldiers with a paintball gun days after traveling to DC in hopes of a phony Trump inauguration, federal investigators say
A QAnon sticker is seen on the back of a car on November 6, 2020 in Los Angeles as the entire nation awaits the result of the presidential election.Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
  • A Wisconsin man is facing federal charges after investigators say he shot soldiers with a paintball gun.
  • He was a follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to a federal criminal complaint.
  • The suspect traveled to DC ahead of the fake Trump inauguration QAnon followers expected, the complaint said.

A man with QAnon slogans spray-painted onto his car drove to an Army Reserve Center in Wisconsin and shot soldiers with an airsoft paintball gun, investigators said in a federal criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin on Friday.

It was just over a week after he traveled to Washington, DC, for what many QAnon followers believed would be a new inauguration for former President Donald Trump on March 4, the complaint said.

Ian Alan Olson, 31, is accused of entering the Wisconsin Army Reserve Center in Pewaukee on March 15, shouting, "This is for America," and shooting paintballs at soldiers at the reserve station. The paintball gun he wielded was styled as an AR-15, according to the criminal complaint reviewed by Insider. None of the soldiers were hit by the paintballs, according to the complaint, which was prepared by an FBI Special Agent.

Olson has been charged with two misdemeanors: attacking US servicemen "on account of service" and for assaulting officers, court documents show. The Daily Beast first reported the charges on Friday.

Messages on Olson's car, according to photos in the complaint, included the letter "Q" multiple times, as well as "WWG1WGA," the slogan of the QAnon conspiracy-theory movement that stands for "Where we go one, we go all."


QAnon, the baseless far-right conspiracy theory alleging the existence of a "deep state" cabal of human traffickers, has been linked to several criminal charges, including alleged murders and kidnappings. Many followers of the bogus theory joined the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol. The movement remains alive today, though Trump, who was seen as a savior who would take down the "deep state," has left the White House.

"Q" is the anonymous figure who created the movement by claiming on fringe online platforms to have high-level government security clearance. ("Q" has not posted since December 2020.)

Photos included in the complaint appear to show that on the hood of Olson's vehicle were the words "TRUST MY PLAN," a popular phrase in the QAnon community.

While "trust my plan" was never used in "Q drops," the cryptic messages from the anonymous "Q" figure, the phrase "trust the plan" was used 27 times, all in 2018.

The idea of blindly trusting Q's plan - and blindly trusting Trump alongside him - has become essential to QAnon's longevity, particularly after Biden took office. Top influencers in the conspiracy-theory movement continue to tout the idea that there is some kind of plan for Trump to get back in office and save the world from the fictitious cabal.


The windshield of the car was also painted with the phrase "OMW 2 DC," which investigators said meant "on my way to Washington, DC." When he was arrested, Olson allegedly told jail intake officials that "he just returned from Washington, DC, where he attempted to deliver a message," according to the complaint.

Capitol Police reports from March 3 show that Olson did indeed travel to DC for March 4, when QAnon believers thought Trump might be re-inaugurated. Olson told the police that he was there to "test the National Guard tomorrow to see if they were loyal to the people or to the President," according to the federal complaint.

"Olson communicated his understanding that, if he were shot by the National Guard, he would know the National Guard to be loyal to the President," the federal investigator wrote in the complaint. Capitol Police then determined he was a "danger to himself and others" and he received a psychiatric evaluation before being released on March 5.

His encounter with the Wisconsin reservists came 10 days later.

Olson will appear in court for his arraignment on March 31, when he's expected to enter a plea. The public defender representing Olson did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.