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Federal charges filed for arson at St. Paul school, rental car company during late-May riots

Charges were filed against a 19-year-old from Maplewood, and a 31-year-old Minneapolis man.
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Screen Shot 2020-07-01 at 8.42.59 AM

The United States Attorney's Office has filed criminal arson charges against a pair of Minnesota men for their alleged roles in starting fires at a school and rental car company in St. Paul during the late-May riots that followed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Mohamed Hussein Abdi, of Maplewood, is accused of arson at the Gordon Parks High School in St. Paul. The 19-year-old was arrested June 29, more than a month – May 28 – after he allegedly intentionally set a fire with another individual in the school cafeteria, which was captured by video surveillance. 

According to the federal complaint, Abdi is seen on video reaching through a broken glass door and pouring clear liquid from a white container on the floor of the cafeteria. He then lights a fire in a trash can and runs from the building as black smoke and flames erupt from the garbage container. 

The video also featured Abdi wearing a snapback hat with "U.S.A Basketball" on the front. Authorities found Abdi's public Instagram profile and a photo of him wearing what is believed to be the same hat in a post. 

Another suspect seen and identified in the criminal complaint has not been charged, therefore Bring Me The News is not naming him. This person is also accused of starting a fire at a nearby Goodwill store. 

Entrerprise Rent-A-Car arson

Another arson that happened on May 28 was at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car building at 1161 University Ave. W. in St. Paul, with 31-year-old Matthew Scott White, of Minneapolis, charged with starting a fire that led to the building being completely destroyed. 

White and a child who was later connected to White as his nephew, are seen on surveillance video going in and out of the rental car company between 8:45 p.m. and 8:50 p.m., with the fire erupting inside the building during that time, according to the federal complaint. 

White's sister was outside the building the entire time, but photos later confiscated from her phone revealed that she was with White and the child, who is identified in a federal complaint as her son, in both Minneapolis and St. Paul during the May 28 civil unrest. In one photo, a tattoo on Matthew White's arm matches one seen on the suspect accused of starting the fire at Enterprise. 

All three individuals were the subject of a June 15 release from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that offered a $5,000 reward to help identity the suspects. 

Matthew White (circled) was identified in this June 15 ATF release. 

Matthew White (circled) was identified in this June 15 ATF release. 

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