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Two men charged with throwing Molotov cocktails into courthouse during riots

The pair were apprehended in a street near to the courthouse.
Author:
Garrett Ziegler and Fornandous Henderson.

Garrett Ziegler and Fornandous Henderson.

Two men have been charged with throwing Molotov cocktails into the Dakota County Courthouse during the height of the civil unrest in the Twin Cities.

Garrett Ziegler, 24, of Long Lake, and Fornandous Henderson, 32, of Savage, have been charged in federal court with arson and possession of Molotov cocktails.

It follows a fire at the courthouse in Apple Valley in the early hours of Friday, May 29.

Per the U.S. Attorney's Office, police arrived to find "broken windows, smoke, and flames coming from the west side of the building where the judges’ chambers and clerks’ offices are located."

Found at the scene were items consistent with Molotov cocktails, including broken glass jars and liquor bottles, pushpins, intact glass jars containing ignitable liquid and a charred red bandana.

Officers also found a set of car keys in the grass near the courthouse, which belonged to a Ford Fiesta parked in a nearby business's parking lot, which had two baseball bats leaned against the driver's side door.

A search warrant on the vehicle found it was registered to Ziegler, and inside were several items including liquor bottles, a receipt for three bandanas, some boxes of push pins, and an empty cardboard box for mason jars.

Also recovered were brand lighter fluid bottle, isopropyl alcohol bottles, a plastic jar containing a clear unidentified liquid and T-pins, and a receipt for nail polish remover.

Police found the pair on a nearby road, with the pair mouthing "s***" to each other when they saw officers. Police found a knife on Ziegler and a lighter on Henderson.

During interview, Henderson claimed he and Ziegler traveled to Minneapolis by bus and spent 45 minutes at the George Floyd protest at Chicago and 38th Street on Thursday afternoon before returning to Apple Valley. The criminal complaint notes that Henderson's account is unlikely given that Metro Transit stopped operations at 4 p.m. that day.

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