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Edmonds man sentenced to prison for Molotov cocktail attacks

Edmonds Police assist in investigation


Last updated 4/1/2021 at 10:16am

U.S. District Court Seattle

A 21-year-old Edmonds man was sentenced March 29 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 40 months in prison and three years of supervised release for unlawful possession of destructive devices for his activities at a protest that turned violent in downtown Seattle, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.

Kelly Thomas Jackson was arrested in September 2020 when he was identified as the person who used Molotov cocktails to burn two Seattle Police vehicles in downtown Seattle May 30, 2020.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), with assistance from the Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, and Seattle police departments.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said, "The public's right to peacefully protest has been repeatedly violated by people doing criminal things."

"Unlike the vast majority of demonstrators who came to downtown Seattle to protest peacefully against systemic racism, this defendant came armed with Molotov cocktails, intent on dangerous destruction," said Gorman. "This isn't free speech – it is criminal conduct deserving of a federal prison sentence."

According to records, law enforcement had various videos of a white male suspect in distinctive clothing using glass containers with a flammable material and a wick to burn or attempt to burn two police vehicles. Jackson was identified as that man after an anonymous tip to law enforcement.

An analysis of cellphone records placed Jackson in the area at the time of the fires. Law enforcement obtained videos that show Jackson traveling into Seattle with at least one of the glass bottles with a wick. Other videos show Jackson throwing one Molotov cocktail into a police vehicle, then hiding himself in the crowd and jumping up and down with excitement after his crime.

Another video shows the second Molotov cocktail thrown at the windshield of a police vehicle, bouncing off, and exploding in flames on the sidewalk outside the Nordstrom store. A review of Jackson's internet activity demonstrated that he accessed web-based information on how to construct Molotov cocktails.

Jackson pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a destructive device on Jan. 6.

Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg prosecuted the case.


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