Man Charged in Alleged Dumpster Fire near Portland Police Building

A Portland man has been charged with arson after pushing a burning dumpster against the @PortlandPolice North Precinct building on June 26, 2020. Read more: http://go.usa.gov/xGRj7
U.S. Attorney's Office

A man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly set a dumpster on fire that was against a police building while 19 people were inside in Portland, Oregon, in June.

In a press release Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Oregon said Gavaughn Gaquez Streeter-Hillerich, 22, was arrested in Vancouver, Washington, and charged with two counts of using fire to damage and attempt to damage the building.

The release continued:

According to court documents, in the early morning hours of June 26, 2020, a group of demonstrators were present near the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct on NE Emerson Street in Portland. The precinct is located in a city-owned building containing multiple private businesses. Streeter-Hillerich was seen in video footage intentionally setting a large dumpster on fire near the building’s northwest exterior corner. The fire was set on top of the dumpster, which had been pushed up against plywood affixed to the building to protect windows and prevent break-ins. Officers used fire extinguishers to try and extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived.

“The fire caused damage to the building and, were it allowed to spread, would have threatened the safety of 15 police personnel and four individuals in custody inside the building,” the release stated.

A private citizen submitted video evidence to investigators, leading them to identify and arrest the suspect.

Cynthia M. Chang, a fire investigator with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, wrote in a federal affidavit that Streeter-Hillerich told police he was angry tear gas had been used against him during the protests, according to the Oregonian.

The suspect reportedly believed setting the dumpster on fire “would assist him in controlling his anger and getting his anger out,” Chang said in the affidavit.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) ordered the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) on September 10 to stop using a form of tear gas during riots.

Per the Oregonian:

The declaration that officers will no longer unleash CS gas comes after 105 straight days of protests that have seen city and federal officers deploy tear gas on participants. Over that time, people have also repeatedly been subjected to gas by Portland police in their cars or homes while not participating in the demonstrations.

Pending further court proceedings, Streeter-Hillerich was ordered released after his first appearance in federal court on Wednesday.

“Arson is punishable by up to 20 years in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years,” the press release said.

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