Volunteers Arrested in Fire at Arizona Democratic Headquarters


Authorities announced the arrest Wednesday in a blaze that destroyed the headquarters of the Arizona and Maricopa County Democratic Party.

Phoenix police said 29-year-old Matthew Eggler was booked on one count of arson of an occupied structure.

In charging documents obtained by KPNX-TV in Phoenix, police said Eggler had been a volunteer for the Maricopa County Democratic Party but was banned for behavior reasons. Investigators say the fire was retaliated after being recently dismissed as a volunteer again.

State and county Democratic leaders said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened and shocked by today’s news, but appreciate the swift action by law enforcement.”

ARIZONA DEMOCRATIC PARTY HQ BUILDING FIRE, POLICE SAY

A message left on a cellphone number listed for Egler’s family was not immediately returned. It was not immediately known whether there was a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

Police have also mentioned in the charging documents that Egler discussed triggering the fire and his “dissatisfaction” with county Democratic officials in a Twitter account.

FEEL – A booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Phoenix shows Matthew Eggler. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

A Twitter account with the handle of “Valley Leader” featured several videos of a man matching an eagler’s mugshot released by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office that talks of carrying out the fire. The man also claims to have married Ivanka Trump.

The blast occurred a few miles north of downtown Phoenix in a business district early Friday. Investigators said evidence indicated that it was an arson incident.

The building is the long-term home of both state and county Democrats. The northern side of the building, which operates for the Maricopa County Democrats, was a total loss, said county chair Steven Slogoki. He said the damage to the state’s portion of the building was minimal.

Slogoki said the fire destroyed computers, tablets, phone-banking equipment, campaign literature and candidates’ years and organized the information. He also said that political memorabilia collected over decades, including campaign material for John F. Kennedy, were lit, he said.

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Leaders of the Arizona Republican Party also condemned the fire.

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