Home News Man arrested for setting fire outside Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office in Vermont

Man arrested for setting fire outside Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office in Vermont



A man accused of setting a fire outside Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office in Vermont earlier this week has been arrested, federal authorities said.

Shant Soghomonian, 35, also known as Michael Soghomonian, was arrested Sunday on a charge of using fire to damage a building used in interstate commerce, according to a statement from Nikolas Kerest, the U.S. attorney for Vermont.

The suspect, previously of Northridge, Calif., was recorded on security video “spraying a liquid” near the door of Sanders’ office in Burlington and then “lighting the area with a handheld lighter,” officials said.

The incident unfolded early Friday when Soghomonian entered the building at One Church St. and proceeded to Sanders’ third-floor office before allegedly starting the blaze, according to court records.

He fled the area shortly after the fire began, officials said.

“Multiple employees” were at the office at the time, but no injuries were reported.

However, the fire damaged the outside of the office door and surrounding areas and activated sprinklers on other floors, officials said.

“A significant fire engulfed the door and part of the vestibule, impeding the egress of staff members who were working in the office and endangering their lives,” Burlington police said in a Friday statement. “The sprinkler system then engaged and largely extinguished the fire.”

If convicted, Soghomonian faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer.

Sanders, 82, was not in his Burlington office when the fire began, but his staff released a statement Sunday thanking first responders for their “swift, professional, coordinated efforts” and confirmed “none of the many people” working there Friday afternoon were injured.

“We are proud to be able to continue to serve Vermonters during these challenging times,” Sanders said.

Sanders is currently pushing for 32-hour work weeks and collaborating with the Biden Administration to lower prescription drug costs.

With News Wire Services

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