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

Police apprehended 35-year-old suspect who sprayed liquid on floor of lawmaker’s office before setting it ablaze; building interior damaged, but no casualties reported

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks to the media as he walks to the House chamber before President Joe Biden's State of the Union address at the US Capitol, through March 7, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Jose Luis Magana, File)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks to the media as he walks to the House chamber before President Joe Biden's State of the Union address at the US Capitol, through March 7, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Jose Luis Magana, File)

BURLINGTON, Vermont — A man was charged on Sunday with setting a fire outside the Vermont office of US Sen. Bernie Sanders, federal prosecutors said.

Shant Soghomonian, 35, who was previously of Northridge, California, entered the building on Friday and went to Sanders’ third-floor office where security video showed him spraying a liquid on the door and setting it afire, officials said.

The building’s interior suffered some damage from the fire and sprinklers that doused the area with water, but no one was hurt. Sanders, an independent, was not in the office at the time.

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 US attorney for Vermont.

The motive remained unclear. Soghomonian was detained Sunday and could not be reached for comment. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer, and an initial court appearance had not been set, officials said.

The crime carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by police departments in Burlington, Shelburne and Williston; Vermont State Police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and US Capitol Police, officials said.

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