A Palm Desert, California, man has been arrested and charged with arson in the May 31 firebombing of the East Valley Republican Women Federated office in La Quinta.
Carlos Espriu was arrested Wednesday by members of the Riverside County Gang Impact Team and is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside in lieu of a $1 million bail, the Office of the District Attorney of Riverside County said in a news release.
The 23-year-old was charged with “one count of arson of a structure during a state of emergency with an enhancement of using a device designed to accelerate a fire or delay ignition” and “one count of igniting a destructive device with the intent to destroy property.”
A Palm Desert man has been arrested & is facing charges for an #arson at the East Valley Republican Women Federated building in La Quinta. Carlos Espriu was arrested in Indio last night & our office filed charges today. More info: https://t.co/8wZIjsZaTI#rivconow #wearerivcoda pic.twitter.com/7mWx4Tqk2z
— Riverside County DA’s Office (@RivCoDA) September 10, 2020
He then allegedly “lighted an improvised incendiary device constructed of three bottles that he tossed through the windows before fleeing.”
According to the criminal complaint, he returned to the building and broke more windows and retrieved his Molotov cocktail.
He brought it back without a mask and reportedly threw it inside the building, sparking a fire.
Cal Fire firefighters extinguished the fire inside the building and investigators determined the three glass bottles caused it, according to the news release.
There was reportedly limited damage to the EVRWF headquarters and no one was injured.
“The terrorizing goes on,” a GoFundMe to raise money for security for the headquarters read.
“Their headquarters have experienced increased hostility, including: multiple harassing phone calls daily, eggs thrown at the windows, and drive by shouting accompanied by obscene gestures.”
Several people came forward with information and helped law enforcement officials identify Espriu as the arson suspect, according to KESQ.
Investigators also uncovered a Twitter account they believe belongs to Espriu where he tweeted, “I wanna go burn s— n get hit with tear gas” three days before the firebombing.
After investigators served a search warrant, they also recovered audio recordings in which Espriu is heard telling someone that he shaved his facial hair after seeing the surveillance video from the night of the attack on local news.
If he is convicted, Espriu would face a mandatory federal prison sentence of five to 20 years.
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