SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 19, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — An airman stationed at Hill Air Force Base has been charged with arson in the May 30 destruction of a Salt Lake City Police car.
Larry Raynold Williams Jr., Airman First Class, faces the Federal arson charge. Williams, 22, arrested Wednesday morning at his West Haven residence.
“The Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Hill Air Force Base (HAFB) assisted the FBI,” a Department of Justice news release says. “According to the complaint, Williams is an Airman First Class in the U.S. Air Force. He is stationed at HAFB in northern Utah.”
What had started as a peaceful protest on May 30 transitioned to violence after rioters took over.
“During the riot, a Salt Lake City police officer, driving a police vehicle, became boxed in and immobilized by surrounding protestors,” the DOJ statement says.
“Fearing for her safety, the officer fled from her patrol car. Her patrol vehicle was subsequently overturned, vandalized, looted, and then set on fire. Video footage from the event shows individual rioters using fire and explosives to damage and destroy the police vehicle. Federal prosecutors in Utah have filed arson charges against five individuals allegedly responsible for burning the patrol vehicle.”
According to the complaint, video footage from the afternoon of May 30, 2020, shows a white male, later identified by law enforcement as Christopher Isidro Rojas, standing next to an African American male. The second man, subsequently identified by law enforcement as Williams, was dressed in a black Nike hoodie, black Nike sweatpants, black shoes, and a black gas mask.
Rojas was observed holding a blue cigarette lighter in his hands while Williams held a white combustible fabric material, similar to a tablecloth or bedsheet, according to the complaint. Rojas used the cigarette lighter to ignite the fabric. Once the fabric began to burn, the complaint alleges Williams threw the material into the window of the overturned patrol car. The burning material landed partially within the interior of the patrol car and partially on the street.
Williams was wearing a gasmask. Investigators subsequently identified the gas mask worn by Williams as an M50 Joint Service General Protective Mask. Clarified photographs of Williams wearing the mask revealed lettering on its attached M61 filter canister, written in what appeared to be white marker, which stated, “TRNG ONLY.” A lot number was also observed on the canister, according to the complaint.
Williams was also observed unmasked at the riot. Law enforcement officers were able to use several photographs to identify Williams.
Markings on the gas mask are consistent with markings applied by HAFB.
“According to the complaint, serial/lot numbers were documented for each inventoried item. The lot number for one of the gas canisters assigned to Williams was identical to the number observed on the gas mask as depicted in pictures taken at the riot.”
Williams will make an initial appearance on the arson charge at 3 p.m. Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead.
Federal arson charges in the case are pending against Jackson Stuart Tamowski Patton, 26, Latroi Devon Newbins, 28, Christopher Rojas, 28, and Lateesha Richards, 24, all of Salt Lake City, who were charged earlier
Upon conviction, arson carries a potential sentence of 20 years in prison with a minimum-mandatory 5-year sentence.