Federal authorities are asking for help in identifying several suspects who allegedly set fires in Minneapolis during protests over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) released several pictures Tuesday of suspects captured on security cameras allegedly setting fire to a school, grocery store and the Minneapolis Third Precinct police station, among other buildings.
“Progress has been steady in the Minneapolis fire investigations, and we are at a point where we need help identifying people,” said Jeff Reed, assistant special agent in charge of the ATF St. Paul Field Division, in a statement. “These arsons are adversely impacting our communities, business owners, employees and their families.”
Also on Tuesday, two more people were charged with conspiracy to commit arson for allegedly starting fires at a St. Paul health and nutrition store on May 28. Samuel Elliott Frey, 19, and Bailey Marie Baldus, 19, allegedly entered the Great Health and Nutrition store at 1360 University Ave. W., along with three other people and used flammable hand sanitizer to start a shelving unit on fire.
At least 570 buildings were vandalized or looted across the Twin Cities as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets several nights in a row to protest the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25.
At least 67 buildings were completely destroyed.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man from St. Louis Park, died after then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while two of his colleagues held down the rest of Floyd’s body. His death set off peaceful protests and vandalism across the country and around the world.
All four officers at the scene — Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — were promptly fired. All four have been charged in the case.
The ATF released photos of several suspects who allegedly set fire to the Minnesota Transitions Charter School, the Minneapolis police Third Precinct building, an AutoZone store, a Wells Fargo Bank building and an Aldi’s grocery store. The agency said it was working with the FBI, Minneapolis police, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies to investigate the fires and other crimes related to the protests.
The ATF released other photos Friday.
The agency also put out a plea for cooperation from anyone who “incited or promoted violence of any kind.”
Anyone with information about the identities of the people involved can call the ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), e-mail ATFTips@atf.gov, or submit information online at ReportIt.com.
Witnesses who have digital evidence to share or tips can call 1-800-CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324), or visit fbi.gov/violence.