Minnesota men charged after allegedly hurling Molotov cocktails into courthouse during George Floyd riots

Two men were charged with arson and possession of Molotov cocktails after they threw them at a Dakota County Government building, located south of Minneapolis, Friday.

U.S. Attorney’s Office announced a federal criminal complaint against Garrett Patrick Ziegler, 24, and Fornandous Cortez Henderson, 32, Tuesday – a formal detention hearing has been scheduled for Thursday.

According to the criminal complaint, the Apple Valley Police Department responded to a fire alarm early on May 29 at the Dakota County Western Service Center (DCWSC) -- the location of court facilities and a U.S. Passport Center.

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Security officials reportedly found “broken windows, smoke and flames” at the west end of the building.

“Located at the scene were items consistent with those used in Molotov cocktails, including broken glass jars and liquor bottles, pushpins, intact glass jars containing ignitable liquid and a charred red bandana,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office complaint reported.

Officers found a set of car keys in the grass near the courthouse belonging to a Ford Fiesta located in a neighboring parking lot.

A search warrant on the vehicle identified items also used to make Molotov cocktails, “including liquor bottles, a store receipt dated May 28, 2020, for three bandanas, partially full and empty boxes of push pins, an empty cardboard box for twelve Ball brand mason jars.”

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Officers also found an empty lighter fluid bottle, isopropyl alcohol bottles “and a store receipt dated May 27, 2020 for nail polish remover.”

The car was registered to Ziegler.

Henderson and Ziegler were found by police officers on the road near the DCWSC and were taken into custody.

Both the men claimed to have participated in the George Floyd protests earlier in the day and had traveled back to Apple Valley by the Metro Transit, “at which time they were confronted by police officers” according to Henderson’s account on the affidavit.

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However, police officials determined Henderson’s account was inaccurate, because the Metro Transit had closed at 4 p.m. on May 28.

Henderson and Ziegler will be held in custody pending their detention hearing Thursday.