Arrested at Logan Airport: Man Accused of Bombing Wisconsin Anti-Abortion Office


Arrested at Logan Airport: Man Accused of Bombing Wisconsin Anti-Abortion Office

After nearly a year of looking, authorities finally found the man they think was responsible for the firebombing of a well-known Wisconsin anti-abort

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After nearly a year of looking, authorities finally found the man they think was responsible for the firebombing of a well-known Wisconsin anti-abortion lobbying group’s workplace using DNA taken from a half-eaten burrito.

Police detained 29-year-old Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury on Tuesday at Boston’s Logan International Airport, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Madison. One count of trying to cause damage with fire or an explosive was laid against him in the complaint.

On Tuesday, he made his opening court appearance in Boston’s federal court. On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell scheduled a custody hearing. Brendan O. Kelley, who is identified as a federal public defender in online court records for Roychowdhury, declined to speak when contacted by phone following the hearing on Tuesday.

For almost a year, federal agents have been looking for the person who on May 6 threw two Molotov cocktails into the Wisconsin Family Action headquarters in Madison. One of the firebombs failed to catch fire, while the other one burned a bookshelf. On the outside of the building was spray-painted the phrase “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either.” The office was empty at the moment.

A draft opinion indicating that the Supreme Court would reverse Roe v. Wade, the ruling that legalized abortion, leaked a week prior to the assault. Supporters of abortion rights staged demonstrations across the nation in response to the publication. The days before the Madison firebombing saw vandalism at two Catholic churches in Colorado. A few days later, someone attacked the headquarters of an anti-abortion group in a Salem, Oregon, suburb with Molotov cocktails.

In June, the court formally reversed Roe v. Wade, restoring Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion prohibition.

The criminal complaint against Roychowdury claims that three DNA samples were taken from the scene of the Wisconsin assault from the evidence. However, none of the identities in the DNA database of the US Department of Justice matched the samples.

As time went on, Julaine Appling, the president of Wisconsin Family Action, announced a $5,000 reward for any intelligence resulting in an arrest. She charged that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes were more concerned with showing sympathy to pro-abortion advocates than with apprehending any suspects.

Police guarding the state Capitol in Madison last January watched surveillance footage of a demonstration against police violence. On Capitol grounds, several individuals were seen in the video spray-painting graffiti. The writing on the wall matched the writing on the Wisconsin Family Action workplace wall.

Per the complaint, the surveillance video showed two individuals leaving the area in a white pickup truck, which investigators were able to locate at Roychowdhury’s home in Madison. Police started pursuing him.

On March 1, he stopped at a park-and-ride in Madison and tossed a bag of fast food into the trash. Police retrieved the bag from the trash can after he departed. According to the lawsuit, DNA on a burrito in the bag matched DNA taken from the Wisconsin Family Action office.

According to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office, Roychowdhury visited Madison this month on his way to Portland, Maine. When he was detained, he had a one-way ticket for a trip from Boston to Guatemala City, which was set to take off Tuesday morning, according to the office.

Based on the lawsuit, investigators were unable to connect the two additional DNA profiles to a specific person.

Tuesday, Appling remained silent in regards to Roychowdhury’s detention.

“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,” William McCrary said. McCrary is the special agent in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives’ St. Paul Field Division. “It is very satisfying to me to see that this alleged perpetrator has been placed in custody.”