A Democratic activist was arrested Wednesday on arson charges for allegedly setting the fire that destroyed the Arizona Democratic Party’s headquarters July 24, numerous sources reported.
Matthew Egler, 29, claimed responsibility for the fire on social media, according to a joint press release from the Phoenix fire and police departments. The fire destroyed political memorabilia and party infrastructure ahead of the primary election Tuesday, AZ Central reported.
ARREST MADE: 29-year-old Matthew Egler has been arrested in connection with the fire set to the Democratic Party Headquarters. The fire happened after midnight on Friday, July 24 near Central and Thomas in Downtown Phoenix. The fire caused substantial damage to the building. pic.twitter.com/6cXhOppySA
— Phoenix Police (@PhoenixPolice) July 29, 2020
Surveillance video showing a man matching Egler’s description arriving alone at the building and lighting the fire and breaking glass doors before walking back to the car was used to identify him.The fire department responded to the incident at about 1 a.m. (RELATED: Here’s How The 2020 Primaries Have Played Out For Democrats)
He was arrested near his father’s house after a weeklong investigation, KTAR News reported.
Egler had served from 2016 to 2019 as a precinct committeeman of Legislative District 22, AZ Central reported. He also reportedly served as president of The Valley Leadership Council, which is described as a non-profit intended to fight voter apathy, according to his LinkedIn.
Four days before the fire, Egler reportedly posted a video of himself lighting what appears to be voting guides on fire, AZ Central reported. “That’s all you can do, guys,” he said. “Light things on fire, here I go.” After lighting the fliers on fire, he says “This is from the 2016 election, when I got rid of Joe Arpaio for the Latinos.”
He also bragged on social media that he “bombed” the building. “I BOMBED THIS BUILDING LISTEN TO WHAT IM SAYING.”
Local police arrested Egler in 2019 on suspicion of disorderly conduct and property damage, public records showed, but charges were not filed in the case, according to AZ Central.
“It’s sad from the standpoint of all the memories that were in there and the memorabilia, but for the most part we’re focused on what’s ahead and that nobody was injured,” Matt Grodsky, communications director for the Arizona Democratic Party, told KTAR News last week.