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An ex-Army private has been federally charged for allegedly throwing an explosive mortar at law enforcement during a night of violent rioting in Portland in September.
Following an FBI investigation, 23-year-old Ty John Fox, of Astoria, Ore., was charged with felony civil disorder, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon announced.
On Sept. 5, hundreds of Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters descended on the Portland Police Bureau’s east precinct. Viral video recorded that night showed rioters throwing lit Molotov cocktails toward the line of police. Two people were set on fire and one person was taken to hospital for injuries. Amid the mayhem, a sergeant was struck and injured by a commercial-grade mortar firework.
According to the criminal complaint, Fox was recorded on video igniting a large, cylindrical firework with a torch lighter. He allegedly hurled the device from behind a line of protesters towards Portland Police and Oregon State troopers. An explosion and flash occurred moments later.
Nearly 60 people, including Fox, were arrested at the riot in a residential area of southeast Portland. Fox was charged with first-degree felony arson, third-degree escape, attempted assault and felony riot. He was let out on supervised pretrial release. The local felony arson and escape charges have been dropped by the Multnomah county district attorney. Fox’s arraignment for the local charges is set for Nov. 3.
Originally from St. George, Utah, Fox was once a member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He served in Iraq in 2017. It is unknown under what circumstances he was discharged from the military.
Fox made his initial appearance in federal court last Friday where he pleaded not guilty. He was arraigned and ordered released pending a two-day jury trial scheduled to begin on Dec. 29. A spokesman for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office told The Oregonian that he expects the state charges to proceed as well.