A second suspect was arrested for taking part in the arson of Fayetteville’s Market House after an otherwise peaceful demonstration over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, turned violent, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced today (Friday).
ATF special agents and local law enforcement arrested Andrew Garcia-Smith, of Fayetteville, NC, after Garcia-Smith was released from a hospital due to burn injuries sustained as a result of his involvement in the arson. Garcia-Smith is charged with maliciously damaging property owned or possessed by an institution receiving federal financial assistance. Garcia-Smith made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert T. Numbers, II.
According to the federal criminal complaint, on May 30, 2020, several individuals set fire to the Market House in Downtown Fayetteville. During the period of civil unrest, a Facebook Live video showed a male, later identified as Garcia-Smith, picking up a bottle of burning liquid and throwing it into the Market House’s door. As Garcia-Smith threw the bottle, a portion of the burning liquid spilled back onto him, causing his hair and clothes to catch on fire.
ATF special agents later identified Garcia-Smith as the suspect from the video when he reported to a local hospital with burn injuries shortly after the violent protest.
If convicted, the charge carries a mandatory minimum prison term of 7 years to a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000.
US Attorney Higdon credited the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Fayetteville Police Department, and the Fayetteville Police Department’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team with the investigation leading to today’s arrest. The US Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chad Rhoades and J.D. Koesters of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division.