Suspect Charged with Arson for Setting Fire to Seattle Police Precinct at CHOP

Isaiah Thomas Willoughby, from Tacoma, was taken into custody in Seattle on a federal arson charge Tuesday for allegedly setting fire to the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct during the CHOP occupied protest.
Seattle Police Department

A man was arrested on a federal arson charge Tuesday for allegedly setting fire to the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct during a Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP).

In a news release Wednesday, U.S. attorney Brian T. Moran said 35-year-old Isaiah Thomas Willoughby, from Tacoma, was taken into custody in Seattle, according to KIRO.

The release continued:

According to the criminal complaint, in the early morning hours of June 12, 2020, a person in distinctive clothing was captured on surveillance video near debris piled next to the wall of the Seattle Police East Precinct.  In the video, the suspect appears to use a small can, similar to a gas can, to pour a liquid on the debris. The suspect steps out of frame, then appears to return with something that he lights on fire and tosses on the debris pile. The pile begins to burn, and the suspect walks away.

The fire scorched the side of the building, but was extinguished by those nearby using fire extinguishers, and pulling the flaming debris from the building.

“Arson is punishable by a mandatory minimum 5 years in prison and up to 20 years in prison,” the attorney’s office noted.

Following the incident, the Seattle Police Department shared an image of the suspect and asked the public for help identifying him:

Later, Willoughby took steps to remove his social media posts that may have linked him to the alleged arson, the news release continued.

However, some of his Facebook posts remained and noted his anger at police and knowledge of the East Precinct building, the release said, adding that his sweatshirt helped lead investigators to identify him.

“This is the third case we have charged federally for the criminal acts that tainted otherwise peaceful protests. Other crimes remain under investigation and may result in additional federal charges,” Moran said.

“Those who worked to turn protests into riots will not escape accountability for their criminal conduct,” he stated.

Willoughby was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the attorney’s office stated.


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