Thursday, March 03, 2016
KC man pleads guilty to throwing Molotov cocktails at Congressman's office
A Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to throwing Molotov cocktails at the local congressional office of U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II.
Eric G. King, 29, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the charge of using explosive materials to commit arson, contained in an Oct. 7, 2014, federal indictment.
On Sept. 11, 2014, at 2:52 a.m., a window was broken and two Molotov cocktails were thrown at Cleaver’s congressional office located at 101 W. 31st Street, Kansas City, Mo. The office was unoccupied at the time of the incident. A hammer used to break the window was recovered from the scene, as well as two broken Molotov cocktails. There was no fire damage to the building.
Video footage shows King, wearing a large backpack, walking to the congressional office. King retrieved two Molotov cocktails from his backpack, then walked around the parking lot for a few minutes in an apparent effort to hide from cars that were passing by. The video footage shows King throwing a hammer through the west window then lighting the two Molotov cocktails. The first Molotov cocktail bounced off the side of the building. King threw the second Molotov cocktail through the window then sprinted away from the office.
Detectives with the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department were investigating King in connection with a series of anti-government related incidents of vandalism in the immediate vicinity of the congressional office. The incidents occurred over the Labor Day weekend in 2014 and involved the spray painting of anti-government/anarchy graffiti. One of the incidents was at a Bank of America, from which investigators obtained video surveillance footage that showed King spray painting the bank.
Investigators reviewed social media and Facebook posts by King and noted one post from Sept. 3, 2014, that read, “KC Fight Back celebrated its first labor day with a lovely variety of action, action and more action against a series of government and Financial properties.” Other posts included King posting “KC Fight Back Insurrectionist Collective is alive,” and “these cops aren’t going to kill themselves, get to the streets.” On Aug. 10, 2014, King posted “I want to leave kc better than I found or an ashes.” A social media post by King on the day before the congressional office was attacked read, “KC Fight Back has been in serious in its Insurrection activity, and that is the thing that is giving me the most pride in my life.”
King was arrested as he was leaving his apartment on Sept. 16, 2014. When officers opened the backpack King was carrying at the time, they found a can of red spray paint, Kingsford Charcoal Lighter fluid, and a clear plastic soda bottle (containing a clear liquid) with a tube sock placed over it.
Officers searched King’s apartment and found a hand-written letter entitled “Operation House Committee.” The letter, in part, was a list that contained the following: “(1) Paint thinner/alcohol, (2) face cover/hand cover/all tattoos covered, (3) Three bottles glass, (4) paper towels, old rags/lighter, (5) drive/driver, must be someone trust with.” The letter then mentioned the steps to light the devices, then said to “use hammer/sledgehammer to break door,” “light bottles, throw them, light curtains,” and repeat these steps on “government buildings, all things police, certain law firms, corporations…” The first part of the backside of the letter read, “The arsons committed on Sept 11, 2014 were committed solely by the KC FIGHT BACK Insurrectionist Collective.”
The Molotov cocktails recovered from the congressional office were analyzed by the ATF crime lab in order to identify any DNA that might be present and a profile was developed from one of the bottles and one of the wicks. A sample of King’s DNA was obtained via a search warrant; King’s DNA matched the DNA found on both the wick and bottle.
Under federal statutes King is subject to a sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick C. Edwards. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Federal Protective Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.