Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Stephen Anderson

Real Name: Stephen Howard Anderson
Aliases: None Known
Wanted For: Terrorism, Attempted Murder, Possession
Missing Since: October 14, 2001


Details: During the evening hours of October 14, 2001, Deputy Scott Elder of the Bell County Sheriff's Department spotted a camouflaged truck driving recklessly down Route 25E in Bell County, Kentucky. He put on his pursuit lights and noticed that the truck's taillights were both broken. When he stopped the truck, he approached from the back of the vehicle and noticed "Kentucky Militia" written on the back and side of the truck. At first, Elder was not concerned as the driver seemed nice and agreed to take care of the taillights, but then, the man became very agitated and began yelling at Elder.
He then caught a glimpse of a pistol magazine in the window and asked the man to step out of the truck, but the man defied the officer and drove off. As Elder pursued him, the man made a U-turn and headed straight for Elder. At that point, as he asked for backup, the man began shooting at him. With bullets flying and his life on the line, Elder suddenly turned the tables and began heading towards the truck. The man then slammed on his brakes and jumped from his vehicle. A wild shooting spree ensued as the man emptied at least thirty rounds of ammunition. Elder fired back, but the man vanished down the highway.
Deputy Elder was still in shock the next morning when authorities discovered the gunman's abandoned vehicle in the back woods and identified the owner as fifty-five-year-old Stephen Anderson. In the back of the truck, deputies found enough weapons that could equip a small army. Six pipe bombs were found in the cab, while the back contained a semi automatic rifle, 9,000 rounds of ammunition, and other survival gear, such as clothing and food. Further investigation revealed that Anderson apparently had ties to the civilian para-military group called the "Kentucky State Militia", an organization not sanctioned by an government body. The Militia's mission is "to protect and defend the US Constitution from all enemies, foreign, and domestic."
However, according to law enforcement officials, some members can be fanatical and dangerous, and Anderson was one of them. In fact, shortly before the shooting, he was kicked out of the militia group. When authorities obtained a search warrant for Anderson's property, they found a huge cache of weapons that included a number of pipe bombs, grenades, machine guns, and about 12,000 rounds of ammunition.
They also found a ham radio transmitter allegedly used by Anderson to broadcast hate-filled vendettas against the "establishment" along with a recording of how he planned his encounter with Deputy Elder. He planned to shoot him point blank when he arrived at his car. Authorities believe that Anderson was planning to start a deadly war; they hope to arrest him before he carries out his plan.
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on the June 19, 2002 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
  • It was also featured on America’s Most Wanted.

Results: Captured. Anderson eluded the police for just over a year before a tip from an America's Most Wanted viewer placed him living in the outskirts of Cherokee County in North Carolina. On November 22, 2002, he was arrested there. He later pleaded guilty to various weapons charges and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. He was released on December 17, 2015.