(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) — Federal prosecutors have charged a 25-year-old man for allegedly setting a Michigan Planned Parenthood clinic on fire.
Joshua Brereton allegedly set fire to the Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo on July 31 around 4 p.m., when the clinic was closed and no patients were inside, according to authorities.
Officials said the suspect breached the fence outside the clinic then used a fuel to ignite bushes surrounding the building before lighting a fireplace starter log that he threw onto the building’s roof.
Investigators found evidence that Brereton purchased torch fuel and a Duraflame starter log from a nearby Walmart, as well as a baseball cap that he apparently wore during the arson attack.
According to investigators, Brereton posted to his personal YouTube channel before the incident, where he spoke about abortion policy in a video and called abortion “genocide.”
In the same video, officials said Brereton told viewers to “step out of your comfort zone” and lend a hand in the fight.
If convicted, Brereton faces up to 20 years in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. It is currently unclear if Brereton has an attorney.
After the fire last week, Planned Parenthood of Michigan said its alarm systems appeared to have worked properly and it thanked firefighters for their quick response.
“As always, our top priority is the health and safety of our patients and staff, and we are grateful that no one was hurt,” Paula Thornton Greear, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Michigan, said in a statement to ABC News. “We remain committed to serving our patients — no matter what.”
According to officials, the fire was extinguished in less than ten minutes and only resulted in minimal damage to the exterior of the clinic. The clinic was able to open at 1 p.m. the next day, according to the clinic’s website.
“Yesterday I saw the destruction at Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo with my own eyes. This is a heinous and reprehensible act and I am hopeful that law enforcement will bring the person responsible to justice,” Michigan state Sen. Sean McCann tweeted Aug. 1.
The fire was set just one day before a Michigan judge ruled to temporarily block the state’s 1931 abortion ban. The block came just hours after a different judge ruled to allow the state to prosecute based on the law.
“This lack of legal clarity — that took place within the span of a workday — is yet another textbook example of why the Michigan Supreme Court must take up my lawsuit against the 1931 extreme abortion ban as soon as possible,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement that day.
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