Man Charged With Firebombing Wisconsin Pro-Life Office

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
March 29, 2023US News
Man Charged With Firebombing Wisconsin Pro-Life Office
A threat is pictured spray-painted on a wall near Wisconsin Family Action's offices in Madison, Wis., on May 8, 2022. (Molly Beck/USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters)

The Department of Justice has arrested and charged a Wisconsin man they believe was behind a firebombing that targeted a pro-life organization in Madison, Wisconsin in May of 2022.

On Monday, the DOJ announced they had charged 29-year-old Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury with one count of “attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive.

“According to the complaint, Mr. Roychowdhury used an incendiary device in violation of federal law in connection with his efforts to terrorize and intimidate a private organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The May 8, 2022 attack targeted the office space of Wisconsin Family Action, a group that opposes abortion. Outside the building, someone spray-painted on a wall, “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either.”

According to the DOJ, law enforcement officers responded to the active fire at the office. Once inside the building, officers observed a mason jar under a broken window. The jar was broken, and the lid and screw top were burned. The police also found a purple disposable lighter near the mason jar, which was about half full of a clear liquid they said smelled like an accelerant.

A group calling themselves “Jane’s Revenge” claimed credit for the firebomb attack on the pro-life organization’s office space.

The firebombing came just days after Politico reported on the contents of a leaked draft version of a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion case. Several suspects vandalized and set fire to pro-life office spaces and churches in the days and weeks after the draft decision was leaked.

Wisconsin Family Action declined an NTD News request for comment following Roychowdhury’s arrest.

Suspect Identified Through DNA Evidence, Handwriting Samples

Federal prosecutors said they identified Roychowdhury as the firebombing suspect through DNA evidence. The charging documents state that investigators found DNA profiles from three different individuals during their investigation of the attack.

Investigators also reviewed security camera footage from a demonstration outside the Wisconsin State Capitol in January of 2023. People gathered near the Wisconsin capitol building to protest the police killing of a suspect who allegedly shot at police officers at a demonstration event aimed at stopping the construction of a new police training facility near Atlanta, Georgia.

During the protest near the Wisconsin capitol, investigators observed a protester spray painting “We will get revenge” in a cursive style similar to the one seen outside the Wisconsin Family Action office space. Further reviews of security footage throughout the protest event led law enforcement officials to eventually identify Roychowdhury as one of the people in attendance.

As law enforcement officers observed Roychowdhury in the ensuing days, they saw him discard a bag of trash after a fast food meal. The officers took DNA samples from a partially eaten piece of food left in the bag, and the DNA results matched with one of the samples collected from the scene of the firebombing at the Wisconsin Family Action office space.

Roychowdhury had left Madison, Wisconsin for Portland, Maine earlier this month. He had then purchased a flight ticket from Boston to Guatemala City. Law enforcement authorities arrested Roychowdhury at Boston Logan International Airport on Tuesday.

If convicted, Roychowdhury faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.

No attorney is listed for Roychowdhury at this time.

Few Prosecutions Against Pro-Life Attacks

Roychowdhury’s arrest comes as U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has faced questions over the efforts the DOJ has made to investigate and prosecute crimes targeting pro-life organizations.

During a Senate hearing earlier this month, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) noted the DOJ “has announced charges against 34 individuals for blocking access to or vandalizing abortion clinics.” Lee then noted that there have been over 81 reported attacks on crisis pregnancy centers and 130 attacks on Catholic churches since the leaking of the Supreme Court draft decision overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion case. Lee further noted that in those cases involving attacks on pro-life organizations, “only two individuals have been charged.

“How do you explain this disparity, by reference to anything other than politicization of what is happening here?” Lee asked Garland.

Garland responded that individuals who have blocked access to or vandalized abortion clinics have generally done so during the daytime. By comparison, he said, “those who are attacking the pregnancy resource centers, which is a horrid thing to do, are doing this at night, in the dark.”

Garland then claimed that the DOJ is putting its full resources toward investigating attacks on pro-life organizations.

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