LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Three men were arrested Wednesday and charged for conspiring to and setting fire to a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department patrol vehicle during a protest in Las Vegas, according to authorities.
U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada, Special Agent Patrick Gorman of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and Special Agent Aaron C. Rouse of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced the charges on Thursday.
Las Vegas residents Tyree Walker, 23, Devarian Haynes, 23, and Ricardo Densmore, 24, were each charged in a federal criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit arson and one count of arson and scheduled to make an initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brenda Weksler on June 5.
“Agitators who are using the camouflage of lawful protests to commit violence against law enforcement will be prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “Violence places protesters, first responders, and bystanders in danger, and steals focus away from the messages that peaceful protesters are striving to deliver.”
The criminal complaint alleges that, shortly after midnight on May 31, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue responded to a fire involving an LVMPD patrol vehicle.
The patrol vehicle was parked near the intersection of Ninth Street and Carson Avenue, during protests relating to George Floyd’s death.
Authorities say a social media video captured the fire, leading LVMPD investigators to Walker, Haynes, and Densmore.
And in the video filmed by Densmore, police say it shows Haynes pouring a flammable liquid from a gas can through a broken or missing front passenger side window of the patrol vehicle. Walker lit an object to ignite the liquid, and then Haynes dropped the gas can into the patrol vehicle.
All three defendants left the area when they heard sirens from an approaching LVMPD vehicle, according to authorities.
“Any individual that is engaging in an act of arson is engaging in extremely dangerous behavior,” said Special Agent in Charge Gorman for ATF. “In addition to the destruction of property, acts of arson put the lives of the public at great risk. ATF takes these acts of violence very seriously and is working alongside our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to protect the public and uphold the rule of law. We will continue to work diligently to ensure the safety of the community and prevent incidents like this from occurring.”
If convicted, Walker, Haynes, and Densmore each face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, a mandatory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.
This case was the product of an investigation by the ATF, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, and the FBI-led Criminal Apprehension Team in conjunction with the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa Cartier-Giroux and Stephanie Ihler will be prosecuting the case.