Federal authorities on July 31 charged a man with arson for tossing a bomb at the federal courthouse in downtown Portland after discovering an online review his grandmother left about the green vest the 18-year-old wore to the protest.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office at the District of Oregon, Gabriel Agard-Berryhill, 18, was seen in a video posted on social media throwing a bomb at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on Tuesday, setting off a large explosion. Authorities found Agard-Berryhill wearing the same green vest in other videos and eventually discovered a review for the item written by his grandmother.
“I got this for my grandson who’s a protestor [sic] downtown, he uses it every night and says its [sic] does the job,” the review said.
A Portland man has been charged with arson after throwing a large explosive device at the Hatfield Federal Courthouse during a protest on July 28, 2020. Investigation by @USMarshalsHQ and @ATF_Seattle. Read more: https://t.co/UTh2KnA4k5 pic.twitter.com/ImmuQMBbhm
— U.S. Attorney Oregon (@USAO_OR) July 31, 2020
The security cameras at the courthouse recorded a large incendiary object land near the plywood protecting the building’s facade. The explosion ignited a fire near the main entrance. Law enforcement personnel on the scene collected various items as evidence and send them for lab analysis, but the investigators ultimately tracked down the suspect based on photos and videos of his unique “+ICONS” vest.
The vest brand was clearly visible in a photo in which Agard-Berryhill appears to hold a shield in front of a naked woman who faced the police. Investigators found another image of the vest on Facebook and identified the suspect.
“No legitimate protest message is advanced by throwing a large explosive device against a government building. Mr. Agard-Berryhill’s actions could have gravely injured law enforcement officers positioned near the courthouse, other protesters standing nearby, or himself,” Billy Williams, U.S. Attorney at the District of Oregon, said in a statement.
“The violent opportunists engaged in dangerous acts of violence, such as arson, need to realize there will be grave consequences,” Russel Burger, U.S. Marshal for the District of Oregon, said. “Serious crimes of this nature go beyond mere property damage to the courthouse and endanger people’s lives.”
Agard-Berryhill appeared before a magistrate judge on July 31 and was released pending further court proceedings. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.
Authorities charged another man with arson on July 28 for setting fire to the Justice Center in downtown Portland, located not far from the federal courthouse. According to DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec, 74 people have been arrested during the riots in Portland as of July 28.
Portland has been the site of nightly riots for more than two months after the police-custody killing of George Floyd. The nighttime violence is separate and distinct from the peaceful protests that occur earlier in the day.
The violence subsided for the first time on the night of July 30-31 as protesters urged each other not to provoke a response from federal law enforcement in a bid to have the Trump administration draw down the federal presence in the city.
From The Epoch Times