Numerous anti-ICE activists, socialists, anarchists, and anti-fascists praised the man who an ICE official said tried to commit “mass murder” by attempting to blow up a propane tank at a migrant detention center in Tacoma, Washington. Quick action by Tacoma police officers prevented the attacker from successfully completing his mission.
“Anti-immigration enforcement protester, Willem Van Spronsen, 69, was armed with a loaded rifle and attempted to ignite a commercial-size propane tank attached to the detention facility,” Shawn Fallah, resident agent in charge of ICE Office of Professional Responsibility said in a written statement provided to Breitbart News. “This could have resulted in the mass murder of staff and detainees housed at the facility had he been successful at setting the tank ablaze, said Shawn Fallah, resident agent in charge of ICE Office of Professional Responsibility. These are the kinds of incidents that keep you up at night.”
Police arrested Van Spronsen during a 2018 protest at the same facility after he allegedly assaulted a police officer who attempted to arrest a teenage protester, according to an article in the Seattle Times. He allegedly wrapped his arms around a police officer’s throat and shoulders as he attempted to free the protester from arrest. Police found a collapsible baton and knife in his pocket, the Times reported.
Deb Bartley, a friend of Van Spaonsen’s for about 20 years, told the local newspaper he was an anarchist and anti-fascist. She said she believed Van Spronsen intended to provoke a fatal conflict.
“He was ready to end it,” Bartley told the Seattle Times. “I think this was a suicide. But then he was able to kind of do it in a way that spoke to his political beliefs … I know he went down there knowing he was going to die.”
She said that before the attack, Van Spronsen sent her a letter “just saying goodbye.” She also claimed the letter contained a manifesto, but declined to discuss its contents, the newspaper reported.
Anarchists, anti-ICE activists, and Bernie Sanders supporters were quick to show support for the man who allegedly attempted to commit mass murder.
I hope that the actions of #WillemVanSpronsen comes to be the catalyst for in which others create direct acts of revolution
Rest in power ✊
— deer mom super-soldier ♊⛥ (@bloodfawn93) July 14, 2019
— ️⚧️ transbian valerie solanas ️⚧️ (@generalissima_) July 14, 2019
“It is no surprise in desperate times when people are moved to desperate measures,” the anti-ICE group No More Concentration Camps said in a Facebook post.
RIP to anarchist fighter Willem Van Spronsen. The attack on the ICE facility in Tacoma is a proportionate action against enslavers and internment camp operators. He joins a long list of fallen anarchist martyrs who fought for a liberated world! https://t.co/teXxBeUTLU
— RevAbolitionMov (@RevAbolitionist) July 14, 2019
Another group, Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics, praised Van Spronsen saying, “Willem Van Spronsen, rest in power.” The group posted an image calling for “FIRE TO THE PRISONS.”
A man with beliefs. A throwback. Now called domestic terrorist. Gave his life for his country #WillemVanSpronsen
— Nothing To See Here… (@SkoumbisN) July 14, 2019
Sandernistas, a Facebook group which calls itself an “action, organizing, and strategizing group around the advance of Bernie’s platform and progressive and socialist policy” contains a post from Micah Crown-Hunt the question, “How do we feel about Willem Van Spronsen, the man who died attacking the ICE facility today?”
And, Christina Rene Ocampo, another apparent Bernie Sanders supporter, responded, “Oh dang. How awful. He left a manifesto and went out fighting the good fight. Destroying the ICE vehicles is a great idea.” Her post ended with a pondering emoji.”
Left Life Maastricht, a page apparently devoted to an anarchist agenda, posted a meme praising Van Spronsen.
Willem Van Spronsen, an anarchist comrade who was fatally shot by cops as he attacked ICE detention center in the US
Rest in power ✊
Martyrs never die
Say what you want about #WillemVanSpronsen, but he put his money where his mouth was and did what he believed was right. I personally see more things like this happening in the future.
— (@imintohistory) July 14, 2019
Tacoma police executed a search warrant on Saturday for Van Spronsen’s residence on Vashon Island, according to a statement provided to Breitbart News by Tacoma Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Loretta Cool. The statement did not say what evidence was collected from the residence.
The statement reports that Van Spronsen threw incendiary devices at the Detention Center and at vehicles in the parking lot. Police say he attempted to ignite a “large propane tank and set outbuildings on fire.”
Tacoma police officers quickly arrived on the scene and engaged the suspect with gunfire. Police recovered a rifle (type not described) and a satchel. They said he had flares on his person.
The medical examiner’s office reported that Van Spronsen sustained multiple gunshot wounds during the exchange of gunfire, the Seattle Times article stated.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face