Sure Foundation Baptist Church in Vancouver pictured on June 23. A man facing a hate crime charge said he frequented the church.

Sure Foundation Baptist Church in Vancouver pictured on June 23. A man facing a hate crime charge said he frequented the church.

Troy Brynelson / OPB

A Washington man arrested for repeatedly expressing his desire to kill LGBTQ people tied his beliefs to a fundamentalist sect of Christianity and sometimes attended a church in Vancouver that shares similar views.

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Multiple law enforcement agencies Friday arrested Tyler Dinsmoore, a 27-year-old Navy veteran living in Oak Harbor, Washington, after he drew several complaints of making unprovoked, homophobic threats this month.

According to police, Dinsmoore had recently shouted “it used to be legal to kill gay people” at a neighbor and had posted to social media a picture of a scheduled pride event in Anacortes, Washington, and asked people to “talk me out of it.”

“People keep accusing me of homophobia. Damn right. God says they have one end: to be taken and destroyed,” Dinsmoore wrote in an April 28 post on Gab.

Dinsmoore faces a hate crime charge, according to court documents filed in Island County Superior Court.

According to his Gab profile, Dinsmoore found fellowship in condemning the LGBTQ community at Sure Foundation Baptist Church in Vancouver. Dinsmoore’s connection was first reported by Daily Kos.

In one April post, Dinsmoore described having “a lot of fun” on a church trip where congregates go door-to-door to evangelize, an endeavor the church calls “soulwinning.” On June 4, Dinsmoore posted a video of the church’s pastor, Aaron Thompson, baptizing a person in a hotel pool in northern Washington state.

“I won this brother to Christ,” Dinsmoore wrote. “Here’s his baptism by my pastor.”

Reached by phone Thursday, Thompson denied Dinsmoore was a frequenter of the church. Dinsmoore attended “a couple of times,” he said. He acknowledged Dinsmoore attended on the soulwinning excursion to northern Washington over Memorial Day weekend.

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“He was partnered with me and another person” for a couple hours, Thompson said. “We didn’t really talk much at all.”

“He was just really excited to see people get baptized,” Thompson added.

While Thompson said he shared Dinsmoore’s views on homosexuality, he contended his sermons never espouse for congregates to act violently. Homosexuality is an “abomination” punishable by death, he said, and his sermons call for government action.

When asked specifically about the church’s beliefs toward the LGBTQ community, Thompson said: “We don’t allow them in our church, or child molesters, because we think they’re dangerous.”

“As far as us doing any violence, against anybody for any reason, unless it’s a self-defense reason, we’re not for that,” Thompson said. “I know today that’s controversial, but it’s just been controversial the last 20 years or something.”

Sure Foundation, founded in 2016, sits in a nondescript strip mall in central Vancouver near a grocery store. Thompson said the church sized its congregation at 100 people. Its sign and front doors promise sermons are “KJV only” — stemming straight from the King James Bible, which Thompson said counts homosexuality among the sins that should be met with the death penalty.

“That’s what it says. It is a capital crime,” Thompson said. “It has been (a crime) in time’s past in the United States. However, we believe it’s the government’s job to carry out punishment of capital crimes.”

The church is an offshoot of Verity Baptist Church, whose pastor Roger Jimenez drew condemnation for telling his congregation after the deadly Pulse Nightclub shooting in Florida that it was a “tragedy … that more of them didn’t die.” In an interview, Thompson called Jimenez a close friend.

Dinsmoore, whose next hearing is June 27, is being ordered to surrender his firearms. Law enforcement noted he owned several semi-automatic rifles and held a concealed-carry license.

Reporting on Dinsmoore’s arrest, the Whidbey News-Times reported seven law enforcement agencies, two federal agencies, multiple armed vehicles and a police helicopter responded to his home for the arrest.

Thompson noted that, while he condemned Dinsmoore’s comments, he urged support for due process. He said he wondered if Dinsmoore’s comments about the Anacortes parade really implied violence, and questioned the neighbor who complained to police had fabricated the allegations.

“We’re just taking the word of someone that said that,” he said.

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