Arrest made in fire outside Bernie Sanders’ office in Vermont

Photo of author


Vermont authorities arrested a man they said used an accelerant and a lighter to start a fire Friday outside Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office in Burlington.

The man, Shant Soghomonian (also known as Michael Soghomonian), 35, formerly of Northridge, California, was arrested Sunday on charges of using fire to damage the building at One Church Street in Burlington, Vermont, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. USA. for the District of Vermont, he said in a statement Sunday.

Prosecutors and police did not identify a possible motive for the fire. The office said a lawyer for Mr. Soghomonian had not yet been identified. Officials did not provide a current address for Mr. Soghomonian.

On Friday morning, according to prosecutors and the Burlington Police Department, Soghomonian entered the lobby of the senator’s office, where a security camera captured him while sprayed an “apparent accelerator” near the outside door of the office.

Soghomonian then used a lighter and “quickly started a fire” as he fled down a staircase, prosecutors said. The fire activated the building’s sprinklers on several floors.

Sprinklers extinguished the fire before firefighters arrived around 10:45 a.m., police said.

The senator’s office was occupied at the time by several employees. It was unknown how many other people were in the building at the time, but no injuries were reported, authorities said.

Sen. Sanders, an independent from Vermont, was not in his office at the time of the fire, his office said in a statement Friday.

“A special thank you to the detectives of the Burlington Police Department, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, as well as the United States Attorney’s Office for the integral role they played in bringing about a quick resolution of this investigation.” said Burlington Mayor Emma. Mulvaney-Stanak, in a statement.

An initial court appearance has not been scheduled for Mr. Soghomonian.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, prosecutors said.

Leave a comment