A California man was arrested and charged with arson and “igniting a destructive device with the intent to destroy property” on Thursday for a May attack on the East Valley Republican Women Federated building in La Quinta, California.
The District Attorney’s office in the County of Riverside announced the arrest of the suspect, Carlos Espriu, by the Riverside County Gang Impact Team and the DA’s Special Activity Unit, and stated that he is being held at a Riverside, CA detention center on a $1 million bail. Espriu is also facing federal charges after a criminal complaint by the U.S. Attorney’s Office mentioned his name.
The fire on May 31 was determined to be “intentionally set and caused by an incendiary device.” According to reports, “investigators found three glass bottles containing ignitable liquid inside the building – one bottle that was broken and burned, the other two still intact.” CAL FIRE firefighters were called to the scene shortly after 1:30 a.m. and were able to put out the fire.
Espriu reportedly tweeted about his desire to burn something before the attack, saying “I wanna go burn s— n get hit with tear gas,” according to Fox News. An audio recording from June also reportedly caught Espriu describing “how he made the bombs and shaved his facial hair to hide his identity after surveillance video was shown on media.”
A video titled “FIREBOMBED” posted by building owners shows the suspect smashing windows with a bat and then lighting objects on fire and throwing them through the busted windows. The inside appears to catch fire and the suspect leaves the scene.
“This senseless, baseless act of domestic terrorism, which involved smashed windows and three Molotov cocktails, has caused our club untold financial hardship, and we are now forced to spend our limited resources on hiring nighttime security to protect our headquarters and its members,” said Joy Miedecke, East Valley Republican Women Federated, in a statement.
According to the group’s GoFundMe page, the EVRWF is being targeted by “multiple harassing phone calls daily, eggs thrown at the windows, and drive-by shouting accompanied by obscene gestures.”