An Illinois man has been arrested and charged by criminal complaint with malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage, and attempt to damage, the Planned Parenthood Peoria Health Center in Peoria.
The complaint alleges that Tyler W. Massengill, 32, of Chillicothe, committed the offense.
On Jan. 15, law enforcement received a report of a fire in progress at the Planned Parenthood in Peoria. Subsequent investigation — including a review of area surveillance from the fire scene — revealed that at approximately 11:20 p.m., an older white pickup truck with red doors parked in an area adjacent to Planned Parenthood. Video footage depicts a man wearing a coat with a hood pulled up and possible face mask walk up to the building with a laundry detergent-sized bottle. The man lit a rag on fire on one end of the bottle, smashed a window with an object and then placed the container inside of the Planned Parenthood building. He then quickly left the area on foot.
The complaint alleges that law enforcement, acting on several tips, linked the truck to Massengill and ultimately recovered the truck from an individual in Sparland, where Massengill had left it with a request to paint its doors white. After Massengill’s truck was seized, Massengill met with investigators at the Peoria Police Department on Jan. 24 and was taken into custody.
If convicted of the offense, Massengill faces a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment of at least five years and could receive up to 40 years in prison. The charges also carry up to three years of supervised release and a possible fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris for the Central District of Illinois made the announcement.
The FBI Springfield Field Office, Peoria Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case, with assistance from the Peoria Fire Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Hanna for the Central District of Illinois and Trial Attorney Erin Monju of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.
Anyone who has information about incidents of violence, threats and obstruction that target a patient or provider of reproductive health services, or damage and destruction of reproductive health care facilities, should report that information to the FBI at www.tips.fbi.gov. For more information about clinic violence, and the Department of Justice’s efforts to enforce FACE Act violations, please visit www.justice.gov/crt/national-task-force-violence-against-reproductive-health-care-providers.
A complaint is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.