Virginia man pleads guilty to bringing explosives to Atlanta government building during 2020 protest

A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to assaulting a federal officer and destroying government property after bringing a homemade explosive to a protest in front of an Atlanta government building in the summer of 2020, according to a release from the Justice Department.

Richard Tyler Hunsinger of Fairfax, Virginia, threatened the lives of two federal officers at the Atlanta field office of the Department of Homeland Security during the summer of 2020.

“The citizens of this district have the right to peacefully protest,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “But those who exploit peaceful protests by committing acts of violence, like throwing Molotov cocktails into buildings where law enforcement agents are working, and destroying government property, must be held accountable.”

A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to assaulting a federal officer and destroying government property after bringing a homemade explosive to a protest in front of an Atlanta government building in the summer of 2020, according to a release from the Justice Department.

Richard Tyler Hunsinger of Fairfax, Virginia, threatened the lives of two federal officers during the summer of 2020.

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“The citizens of this district have the right to peacefully protest,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “But those who exploit peaceful protests by committing acts of violence, like throwing Molotov cocktails into buildings where law enforcement agents are working, and destroying government property, must be held accountable.”

On July 25, 2020, a crowd gathered at the DHS building for the rally and protested outside a fenced area in front of the building. Hunsinger and others, wearing dark clothing and face coverings, breached the fences and began vandalizing the building, according to a release.

The DHS building was occupied by at least two federal employees, Hunsinger smashed at least four windows of the front entrance of the structure and then lit and threw a Molotov cocktail into the building through a smashed glass door.

“Anyone who assaults a law enforcement officer or destroys government property is dangerous and an extreme threat to public safety,” said Keri Farley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI will not tolerate protesters who turn violent and destructive and will aggressively pursue individuals that undermine the rule of law. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured during Hunsinger’s act of terror.”

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According to Buchanan, Hunsinger began organizing a protest titled “Rally Against Fascism.” The event was scheduled to occur at the DHS building.

Other people at the protest utilized rocks, cinder blocks, modified fireworks, more Molotov cocktails, and additional materials to cause extensive damage to the building totaling more than $46,000.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and the DHS with assistance from the Atlanta Police Department.

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