More than 6 dozen alleged rioters face federal charges in weeks of unrest across US
Federal prosecutors have announced the arrests of more than six dozen people on charges ranging from murder to arson to looting in connection with rioting that grew out of protests over the death of George Floyd in the past five weeks.
Floyd’s death in Minneapolis Police custody on May 25 sparked protests around the country – but some demonstrations turned violent and saw looting, arson, vandalism and violence.
The arrests come from a broad range of charges. Many of them involved arson attacks.
Fox News has obtained an updated list of federal charges that have been filed around the country in connection with the unrest. It’s unclear exactly how many more investigations may be underway.
The most serious charges are against an Air Force sergeant accused of shooting four law enforcement officers – two of them fatally.
Steven Carrillo, 32, allegedly shot and killed Federal Protective Service Officer David Patrick Underwood and injured another officer as they stood in a guardhouse on May 29. When investigators showed up at his house in Ben Lomond, Calif., on June 6, he allegedly opened fire, fatally striking Sgt. Damon Gutzwille and wounding at least one other deputy.
Steven Carrillo, 32, faces first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of a California deputy, authorities say. (Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office)
Robert Alvin Justus Jr., 30, is charged with aiding and abetting in connection with Underwood’s death – for allegedly acting as the getaway driver. The criminal complaint alleges that the two men met in an online group with ties to the “Boogaloo” movement, a loosely defined violent ideology.
Carrillo was allegedly arrested in possession of the gun – a privately made firearm with no manufacturer’s markings – used in both the Oakland and Ben Lomond shootings. (DOJ)
About a dozen of the arrests involved Molotov cocktails — including those of two New York City lawyers, Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, accused of tossing one into a police vehicle.
Former prosecutors have come out in defense of Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, a pair of lawyers accused of firebombing a New York City police vehicle last month.
In Las Vegas, Stephen T. Parshall, 35; Andrew Lynam, 23; and William L. Loomis, 40, allegedly planned to firebomb U.S. government buildings on May 30 before they were arrested in possession of Molotov cocktails. Investigators said they also had ties to the “Boogaloo” ideology.
Ivan Jacob Zecher, a 27-year-old convicted felon from Jacksonville, Fla., was arrested for unlawful assembly for allegedly taking part in a crowd that blocked traffic and hurled water bottles and rocks at local police. Then investigators said they found Molotov cocktail in his backpack – which counts as a firearm under federal law. Previously convicted felons are not allowed to possess firearms.
Arson attacks in cities around the country have often targeted police vehicles.
Five men in their early 20s from Gainseville, Ga., allegedly set fire to a police car outside an officer’s personal residence on June 2.
Margaret Aislinn Channon, a 25-year-old from Tacoma, Wash., allegedly torched five unmarked police vehicles in Seattle. She was identified by distinguishable tattoos spotted on surveillance video, other images at the scene and her own social media photos, according to the DOJ.
An image shows a woman raising her hands across from police – and in it tattoos on her knuckles are visible. Investigators said those tattoo matched ones they found on Channon when they searched her home. (DOJ)
Federal investigators said they tracked down alleged arsonist Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal, 33, after matching her T-shirt to one sold at an online Etsy store. She is accused of burning two parked Philadelphia police vehicles near City Hall on May 30.
Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, allegedly lit a fire at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building on May 28 – after officers withdrew and rioters overran the station. When investigators arrested him a few days later, they said he was wearing stolen police equipment.
Richard Rubalcava, of Raleigh, N.C., allegedly torched and looted two businesses during riots on May 30. The DOJ said surveillance video shows him reentering a Dollar General store multiple times and leaving with bags full of merchandise before lighting a fire inside. He also allegedly stole a cash register from a restaurant and left a burning towel inside before leaving.
On June 1, a group of people broke into a gun store in Vacaville, Calif., and stole about 70 firearms. Investigators made five arrests and said they recovered 13 handguns.
Shelves were left empty after looters stole dozens of firearms from Guns, Fishing and Other Stuff, a two-story gun and outdoor recreation store in Vacaville, Calif., on June 1. (Courtesy DOJ)
Peter Fratus, a 39-year-old from Massachusetts, faces charges of transmitting threatening communications across state lines for allegedly sending racist emails to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
“While the First Amendment gives us the right to express our own opinions, violent physical threats are certainly not protected speech,” said Michael J. Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “When someone threatens the life of another person, it’s a clear red flag and we have to take their despicable words at face value.”
Also in Philadelphia, 24-year-old David Elmakayes is accused of blowing up an ATM and possessing an illegal firearm. The city saw dozens of ATM bombings during the protests as looters attempted to break inside to their safes, which killed at least one man. Police in the city have filed local charges against at least one man, Talib Crump, for allegedly selling homemade dynamite.
And seven people were arrested in Louisville, Ky., on riot-related charges that included allegedly looting drugs out of a pharmacy — leaving patients unable to fill their prescriptions.
Protesters have also vandalized, defaced and destroyed statues that they find problematic around the country, particularly Confederate monuments, but also depictions of the explorer Christopher Columbus and former U.S. presidents — including George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant.