Authorities want the public’s help in identifying 19 persons of interest who may have been involved in some of the dozens of fires set in Chicago during riots between May 30 and June 3.
Protests sparked by the police custody death of George Floyd last month devolved in some areas into widespread rioting and looting, including the Windy City.
Chicago police officers and investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), along with other law enforcement officers, combed through surveillance footage to find 19 people they believe were involved in the arsons.
“We now need the public’s help to identify these individuals so we can seek justice for the business owners and members of our communities who were affected by these arson cases,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said at a press conference on Tuesday held near the scene of a police vehicle that was torched on May 30 at 100 South Dearborn.
“Many people who see these images will have important information that could help solve these significant arson cases,” added John Lausch Jr., U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Suspects are believed to be involved at a variety of businesses, including a Family Dollar, a salon, and a liquor store.
At least one video released by investigators shows a suspect setting a fire.
That arson took place inside City Sports on S. Halsted Street on June 3 around 6:15 a.m.
The ATF’s specialized National Response Team (NRT) traveled to Chicago last month to help in the investigation.
NRT consists of three teams that have in the past helped with the probe of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Each team includes veteran special agents who have post-blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise, forensic chemists, explosives enforcement officers, fire protection engineers, accelerant detection canines, explosives detection canines, intelligence support, computer forensic support, and audit support.
Anyone with information on the identities or whereabouts of the individuals listed as persons of interest, or anyone with additional pictures or videos, should contact the Chicago Police Department at 312-745-6233 or email ATFTips@atf.gov.