A felon from Georgia, with a domestic violence conviction and no contact order in Washington State, was arrested Wednesday and charged with arson and weapons crimes for stealing an AR-15 rifle from a Seattle Police vehicle during a riot in May and helping set it afire during the riots in Downtown Seattle in May has been arrested.
According to federal prosecutors, Tyre Means Jr. was captured on video on May 30 lighting a paper towel and setting in the back seat of a damaged patrol car parked on the 1600 block of 6th Avenue in downtown Seattle while others in the crowd poured lighter fluid and other accelerants on the flames, eventually setting the patrol car ablaze.
As the fire started, Means was seen taking a rifle bag from the patrol car and then getting into a scuffle with another man while trying to take the bag. Means managed to fight off the other man and ran to the 500 block of Pine Street, prosecutors said.
Once there, a second man approached Means and the two got into a fistfight, prosecutors said. Means dropped the bag during the fight and a nearby good Samaritan, not involved in the fight, retrieved the bag and left the scene. He eventually turned the rifle back in at Seattle Police's West Precinct later that day.
Mean was identified as the suspect in the video on Aug 12 by his distinctive clothing, jewelry, tattoos, and association with a female who also had distinctive tattoos and a significant social media presence. Investigators tracked him down in Bremerton, WA on Wednesday during his Department of Corrections visit, Seattle Police said. Means has two prior felony conviction in Georgia and has a felony conviction for domestic violence and no-contact order in Washington state, prosecutors said.
"This is just the latest in a series of cases where our office has brought federal criminal charges related to civil disorder, and should be a wake-up call for those who think they can commit crimes hidden by a crowd," said U.S. Attorney Moran.
"Federal law enforcement and local police are piecing together publicly available video and photographic evidence to identify and ultimately prosecute those who thought they could escape accountability for their actions. In this case it means a felon, who is legally barred from possessing firearms, now faces tough federal sanctions." The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the FBI and the Seattle Police Department.
Means is prohibited from possessing firearms due to two felony convictions in the state of Georgia: serious injury by vehicle and obstructing law enforcement by use of threats or violence. In Washington, Means has a felony conviction for domestic violence that includes a no-contact order–that order also prohibits him from possessing firearms.
Means will make his initial appearance in federal court at 2:00 today on a criminal complaint charging him with four federal felonies: arson, possession of a stolen firearm, and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm. He faces between 5-20 years in prison if convicted on the arson charge, with up to 10 additional years for the gun charges.