Skip to Content

Suspect arrested in alleged arson at Bernie Sanders’ Vermont office

By Celina Tebor and Jack Forrest, CNN

(CNN) — Authorities arrested a man Sunday in connection with an alleged arson at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office in Vermont last week, according to the Justice Department.

Shant Soghomonian, 35, was charged with using fire to damage the building in Burlington on Friday, according to a Justice Department news release. Soghomonian, who has also gone by the name Michael, is previously of Northridge, California, the agency said.

Soghomonian allegedly entered the building Friday morning and went to the third floor, where the independent senator’s offices are located, according to court records cited by the Justice Department.

“Soghomonian was recorded on a security video spraying a liquid near the outer door of the office and then lighting the area with a handheld lighter,” the news release said.

He left through a staircase as the blaze spread, according to the Justice Department. The fire damaged the outside of the office door and surrounding areas, and sprinklers discharged on multiple floors.

Multiple employees were in the well-known progressive senator’s office at the time of the fire, and it’s unknown how many other people were in the building. There were no injuries reported, the Justice Department said.

The Burlington Police Department previously said the fire engulfing the door and part of the vestibule impeded “the egress of staff members who were working in the office” and endangered their lives.

“I am deeply grateful to the swift, professional, coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement in response to the fire at my Vermont office on Friday. I am also thankful that none of the many people who were in the office building at the time of the fire were injured,” Sanders said in a statement to CNN on Sunday.

He added, “I appreciate the outpouring of support and well-wishes for me and my staff. We are proud to be able to continue to serve Vermonters during these challenging times.”

If convicted, Soghomonian could face between five and 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, according to the Justice Department, which said it has not identified a lawyer for the suspect.

Burlington Mayor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak thanked law enforcement and partners for their work in arresting the suspect.

“A special thank you to Burlington Police Department detectives, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the integral role they played in bringing swift resolution to this investigation,” Mulvaney-Stanak said in a statement.

“My office has offered the support of the Burlington Community Justice Center to Senator Sanders’s staff, and we will continue to be in close communication as their office navigates the impacts of this incident,” she said.

CNN’s Aileen Graef, Mary Kay Mallonee, Kaanita Iyer, and Raja Razek contributed to this alert.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content