A Portland, Ore., man was charged in a criminal complaint Friday with allegedly throwing an explosive device at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse.
Authorities say security cameras caught 18-year-old Gabriel Agard-Berryhill throwing an “incendiary object” into the entrance of the building near midnight on July 28, causing an explosion inside the downtown courthouse.
“No legitimate protest message is advanced by throwing a large explosive device against a government building,” U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said Friday. “Mr. Agard-Berryhill’s actions could have gravely injured law enforcement officers positioned near the courthouse, other protesters standing nearby, or himself.”
“I applaud the ATF agents and U.S. Marshals Service deputies who worked quickly to identify Mr. Agard-Berryhill before he had an opportunity to hurt others,” he added.
A Portland man has been charged with arson after throwing a large explosive device at the Hatfield Federal Courthouse during a protest on July 28, 2020. Investigation by @USMarshalsHQ and @ATF_Seattle. Read more: https://t.co/UTh2KnA4k5 pic.twitter.com/ImmuQMBbhm
— U.S. Attorney Oregon (@USAO_OR) July 31, 2020
The explosion started a fire inside the courthouse, prompting federal officers to collect samples of the fragments to be sent to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) laboratory for analysis.
ATF further reviewed videos posted on social media and located the individual that threw the incendiary object. The man officials later identified as Agard-Berryhill was reportedly dressed in a green vest with camouflage pants and wearing a mask.
“Investigators observed the person in other protest-related videos posted online wearing the same vest and attempting to hold a shield in front of a naked woman,” a Department of Justice (DOJ) statement said Friday.