A Massachusetts man has been arrested and is facing a federal murder charge after he allegedly attacked a pair of hikers on the Appalachian Trail with a machete, killing one of them.
Authorities arrested James Jordan Saturday morning near a portion of the historic trail in Virginia after receiving a complaint that he allegedly attacked two hikers, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.
Federal authorities described the incident as a “senseless and brutal attack” that left one hiker dead and another in critical condition.
“Thanks to their efforts, the suspect was safely apprehended and a seriously wounded victim received critical medical care. We will continue to work with our state and local partners to bring the perpetrator of this senseless and brutal attack to justice,” the release Sunday stated.
The attack left a 24-mile portion of the trail in Virginia closed over the weekend.
Jordan, who also goes by the trail name “Sovereign,” had been arrested last month for reportedly threatening hikers in Tennessee on the trail with a large knife. Charges were dropped after the alleged victims declined to pursue charges, according to the Washington Post.
The Post reports deputies found Jordan Saturday after tracking one of the victims GPS signal sent out as an SOS.
“The whole Appalachian Trail community of hikers and volunteers is profoundly sickened by the horrific and deadly attack Saturday morning,” said Suzanne Dixon, president of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, told The Post.
This time of year is peak season for “thru-hikers” of the Appalachian Trail as thousands attempt a more than 2,000-mile journey on the continuous footpath from Georgia to Maine. Virginia contains the most miles of the trail and is currently packed with hikers who started at the southern terminus in recent weeks.
News reports of Jordan harassing and threatening hikers throughout the trail this season have been prevalent, according to the Post.
The portion of the trail that was closed following the attack has since reopened.