SEATTLE — A man from Alaska is being held by federal authorities after police believe he attempted to burn down the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct, potentially trapping officers inside.
The incident, documented by multiple cameras and shown on social media, appears to show a group approach a side door and then start a fire. Police said someone in the group attempted to 'quick crete' the door, to seal it shut, before lighting the fire.
One person was arrested and booked into jail, and today was transferred to federal custody on an allegation of arson.
It happened Monday night as protests were swirling outside over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
It also happened, according to Seattle Police Guild President Mike Solan, as another arson attempt was made at the Guild's SoDo Headquarters.
"I refer to them as domestic terrorists because they’re intent on killing cops and burning this building down and they threw three Molotov cocktails," said Solan in an interview with KING 5. "If they're barricading police officers to prevent their escape from a police facility, and then light that ablaze at the time this place got hit with a firebomb, I believe the odds of that being coordination more likely than not, rather high."
The Seattle City Council, which has been debating police funding, and whose members criticized police use of force in recent months, are on their summer break. A spokesperson said they were unavailable for comment.
However, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, through a spokesperson, issued a statement.
"For months now, the Mayor has made clear that peaceful demonstrations push governments and elected officials to be better, but acts of violence, threats, and destruction are unacceptable," said the statement. "The actions of some individuals to destroy businesses or police facilities cannot continue. As a community, we should collectively denounce this type of violence from individuals and groups who are intent on destruction. Acts of violence and destruction do nothing to further the cause of justice, and they distract from the need for systemic and lasting change."
Records show that the man from Alaska has the same name as a man who has participated in multiple Anchorage protests after the death of his brother in a police shooting.