PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - An 18-year-old suspect is facing federal arson charges for throwing an explosive device at the courthouse in downtown Portland, according to the Department of Justice.
Gabriel Agard-Berryhill of Portland made his first appearance in federal court Friday. He was ordered to be released pending further court proceedings.
Investigators said security cameras at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse showed a large incendiary object enter the building’s portico area and land near plywood sheeting affixed to the building’s façade. A few seconds later, the object exploded and started a fire near the building’s main entrance.
Social media posts showed the suspect, later identified as Agard-Berryhill, throwing the object, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. He was wearing a green vest, camouflage pants and a mask.
Investigators said they found a Twitter post depicting a product review for the vest worn by the suspect that night. The reviewer stated she got the vest for her grandson who has been protesting downtown every night and said the vest “does the job.”
Investigators later found the same photo on a Facebook page and, using law enforcement databases, were able to positively identify Agard-Berryhill, according to the DOJ.
This case is being jointly investigated by ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.
“No legitimate protest message is advanced by throwing a large explosive device against a government building. Mr. Agard-Berryhill’s actions could have gravely injured law enforcement officers positioned near the courthouse, other protesters standing nearby, or himself,” said U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams. “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.”
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.