Westboro Baptist Church, which claims to have conducted over 47,000 pickets across “doomed America,” was scheduled to picket Monday’s funeral of the police officer who was shot dead on the Virginia Tech campus last week.
The notorious independent church in Topeka, Kan., announced on its blog that its members would gather at Crouse’s funeral at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va., to hold a 45-minute protest beginning 1:15 p.m. on Monday against America’s “corrupt” police and military.
The funeral of Deriek Crouse, 39, begins at 2 p.m.
The announcement says WBC has been trying to warn this nation to turn away from evil for two decades, but “the corrupt police and military of this nation raise their hand against this little flock to try to stop this final warning to flee the wrath to come.”
“Even as God has been pouring out His wrath on them, they continue to rage against His Word,” the blog adds. “As a result, the Lord kills those responsible for keeping watch over this nation.”
Fred Phelps Jr., son of WBC pastor Fred Phelps Sr., told Virginia’s Collegiate Times that only six members would be picketing the funeral. “The law enforcement across this nation has for years refused to do their duty and protect the people,” he said. “There is a price to be paid when you do that to God.”
A Facebook group with 400 students, called “Officer Crouse, Honoring a Fallen Hokie,” has asked campus students not to speak with WBC members or acknowledge their presence. The group has also urged students to wear Hokie gear to show support for Crouse and for Virginia Tech.
Crouse was shot dead by Ross Truett Ashley, a 22-year-old part-time student at Radford University in Radford, Va., at around noon on Thursday. The shooter later killed himself. Police have said there appeared to be no prior contact or connection between the shooter and the deceased campus police officer.
The university has established a memorial fund to support the needs of the Crouse family. A candlelight vigil was held Friday night for Crouse.
WBC earlier held a protest at Virginia Tech on April 9, 2010, against homosexuality and the death of former Tech student Morgan Dana Harrington.