Two Minnesota men threw Molotov cocktails into Dakota County courthouse buildings early Friday during rioting that stretched across the Twin Cities in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in police custody, according to charges unsealed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota.
According to charges unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Fornandous Cortez Henderson, 32, of Savage, and Garrett Patrick Ziegler, 24, of Long Lake, threw the explosive materials. Each was charged with destruction of property used in interstate commerce and possession of Molotov cocktails.
Both men appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Becky Thorson in St. Paul on Tuesday for an initial appearance.
Apple Valley police responded to reports of fire early Friday and found broken windows, smoke and flames pouring out from the part of the courthouse where the judges’ chambers and clerks’ offices are located.
Inside they found broken glass jars and liquor bottles, pushpins, intact glass jars containing ignitable liquid and a charred red bandanna, according to the federal criminal complaint.
Officers found a set of car keys in the grass near the building that belonged to a Ford Fiesta registered to Ziegler, which had been parked in a nearby parking lot. A search of the car uncovered materials that could be used to make fire bombs, according to the charges.
After dousing the fire, authorities found Ziegler and Henderson on a road nearby and arrested them. The two suspects gave false statements to the officers, according to the charges.