The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has released a series of photos related to the recent arson fires in the Twin Cites and is seeking the public’s help in identifying these persons of interest.
The fires occurred at several Twin Cities locations during the riots that followed the death of George Floyd while in police custody on Memorial Day.
The investigation into the fires is being conducted jointly between the ATF, the St. Paul Fire Department, the St. Paul Police Department, and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division.
According to a statement on the ATF’s website, in addition to identifying persons of interest, investigators are also looking to the public for photos or videos from the nights of unrest in St. Paul or Minneapolis. They are specifically looking for photos or videos of people starting fires or adding additional material or accelerants to any of the business property fires in St. Paul or Minneapolis. More photos of other people of interest are expected in the next few days they said.
More photos can be seen on the ATF’s website.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these individuals is asked to contact ATF. Call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov or submit information anonymously via www.ReportIt.com.
Meanwhile, two people have already been charged with throwing Molotov cocktails into a Dakota County government building on May 29 after the start of the riots.
(Garrett Ziegler and Fornandous Henderson)
Garrett Ziegler, 24, of Long Lake, and Fornandous Henderson, 32, of Savage, have been charged in federal court with arson and possession of Molotov cocktails.
According to the allegations in the complaint, in the early morning hours of May 29, the Apple Valley Police Department was dispatched to a fire alarm at the Dakota County Western Service Center in Apple Valley, Minnesota. The service center houses state and local agencies and organizations, including Dakota County court facilities, as well as a U.S. Passport center.
Once on scene, officers observed broken windows, smoke, and flames coming from the west side of the building where the judges’ chambers and clerks’ offices are located. Located at the scene were items consistent with those used in Molotov cocktails, including broken glass jars and liquor bottles, pushpins, intact glass jars containing ignitable liquid and a charred red bandana.
According to the complaint, officers found a set of car keys in the grass near the service center belonging to a Ford Fiesta parked in a neighboring business’ parking lot. Officers later executed a search warrant on the vehicle, which was registered to Ziegler, and recovered several items, including liquor bottles, a store receipt dated May 28, 2020, for three bandanas, partially full and empty boxes of push pins, an empty cardboard box for twelve Ball brand mason jars, an empty Kingsford brand lighter fluid bottle, isopropyl alcohol bottles, a plastic jar containing a clear unidentified liquid and T-pins, and a store receipt dated May 27, 2020 for nail polish remover. Officers located Ziegler and Henderson on a road near the service center, and they were taken into custody.