UNITED STATES NEWS

Man charged with firebombing Wisconsin anti-abortion office

Mar 28, 2023, 12:02 PM | Updated: 2:58 pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — After nearly a year of searching, investigators used DNA pulled from a half-eaten burrito to capture the man they believe firebombed a prominent Wisconsin anti-abortion lobbying group’s office.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Madison announced that police arrested 29-year-old Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury at Boston’s Logan International Airport on Tuesday. He was charged via the complaint with one count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive.

He made an initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Tuesday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell set a detention hearing for Thursday. Roychowdhury’s attorney, Brendan O. Kelley, who is listed in online court records as a federal public defender, declined comment when reached by phone after Tuesday’s hearing.

Federal agents have been searching for almost a year for whoever tossed a pair of Molotov cocktails into the Wisconsin Family Action office in Madison on May 6. One of the firebombs failed to ignite; the other set a bookcase on fire. The message “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” was spray-painted on the building’s exterior. No one was in the office at the time.

The attack came about a week after a threw Molotov cocktails into an anti-abortion organization’s office in a suburb of Salem, Oregon, several days later.

The court officially overturned Roe v. Wade in June, putting Wisconsin’s 1849 ban on abortion back into play.

According to the criminal complaint against Roychowdury, investigators pulled DNA samples from three individuals from evidence at the scene of the Wisconsin attack. But the samples didn’t match any profiles in the U.S. Department of Justice’s DNA database.

As time went on, Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. She accused Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes of being more interested in empathizing with abortion rights activists than bringing any suspects to justice.

This past January, police assigned to protecting the state Capitol building in Madison reviewed surveillance video of a protest against police brutality. The footage showed several people spray-painting graffiti on Capitol grounds. The graffiti resembled the graffiti at the Wisconsin Family Action office.

The footage showed two people leaving the area in a white pickup truck, which investigators tracked to Roychowdhury’s residence in Madison, according to the complaint. Police began following him.

On March 1, he pulled into a Madison park-and-ride and threw away a bag of fast food. After he left, police retrieved the bag from the trash can. DNA on a burrito in the bag matched DNA taken from the Wisconsin Family Action office, according to the complaint.

The U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement that Roychowdhury traveled from Madison this month to Portland, Maine. He had a one-way ticket for a flight from Boston to Guatemala City, Guatemala, that was scheduled to depart Tuesday morning when he was arrested, the office said.

Investigators have been unable to match the other two DNA profiles from the scene to anyone, the complaint said.

Appling had no comment Tuesday on Roychowdhury’s arrest.

“I’m very proud of the tireless and determined efforts the combined federal, state and local team put in to identify and arrest this individual,” said William McCrary, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives’ St. Paul Field Division, which handles crimes in Wisconsin. “It is very satisfying to me to see that this alleged perpetrator has been placed in custody.”

United States News

FILE -Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Roe!!!" as abortion rig...

Associated Press

Alabama IVF ruling puts spotlight on state plans for tax breaks and child support for fetuses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are legally protected children is highlighting how support for the idea that a fetus should have the same rights as a person underpins far less dramatic laws and proposals from abortion foes across the U.S. Lawmakers in at least six states have […]

2 hours ago

This image provided by Tyler Watts shows Florida Man Games competitors, from left, Joshua Barr, Mic...

Associated Press

At the Florida Man Games, tank-topped teams compete at evading police, wrestling over beer

They rose up by the dozens from across Florida, caricatured competitors in tank tops and cutoff shorts, for a showdown that treats evading police and wrestling over beer like Olympic sports. Promoted as “the most insane athletic showdown on Earth,” the Florida Man Games poke fun at the state’s reputation for bizarre stories that involve […]

3 hours ago

Andie Nelson, right, embraces Brian Jaskot, both of Virginia, after their race during the 25 meter ...

Associated Press

‘Totally cold’ is not too cold for winter swimmers competing in a frozen Vermont lake

NEWPORT, Vt. (AP) — Plunging into a frozen lake and swimming laps may not be everyone’s good time but for winter swimmers who return year after year to a northern Vermont lake near the Canadian border, there’s nothing better. The 10th annual Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival kicked off Friday with the 200-meter (218-yard) freestyle race […]

3 hours ago

FILE - A school bus moves up Rock Door Canyon Rd., in Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah, on the Navajo r...

Associated Press

Native American tribes gain new authority to stop unwanted hydropower projects

Federal regulators have granted Native American tribes more power to block hydropower projects on their land after a flurry of applications were filed to expand renewable energy in the water-scarce U.S. Southwest.

6 hours ago

Associated Press

1 killed, 17 injured in New York City apartment fire

NEW YORK (AP) — One person was killed and 17 were injured in a fire that broke out at a New York City apartment building, leaving some residents trapped on the fire escape on Friday. Twelve people were taken to area hospitals, and four were in critical condition, officials said at a news conference. One […]

7 hours ago

(Karim Jaafar/Pool via AP)...

Associated Press

Biden administration restores Trump-rescinded policy on illegitimacy of Israeli settlements

The Biden administration on Friday restored a U.S. legal finding dating back nearly 50 years that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are “illegitimate” under international law.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Man charged with firebombing Wisconsin anti-abortion office