(The Center Square) – Phoenix Police announced Wednesday they arrested a man connected to the arson at Arizona’s Democratic Party Headquarters.
Matthew Egler, 29, of Peoria, was arrested Wednesday on arson charges. Phoenix Police say they found the man in his parents’ home. He faces one count of arson of an occupied structure.
Egler was a former volunteer, a news release said, but was recently turned away.
His LinkedIn profile shows he was a “political operative” for the Democratic Party from 2012 to 2015 and state committeeman for the 22nd legislative district of Arizona as recently as 2019.
Representatives of the district didn’t respond to requests for comment about his role.
Egler’s linked to several groups, including two in support of Bernie Sanders and the Libertarian Party.
He lists himself as the chairman of the Valley Leadership Council, whose social media feeds post dozens of conspiracy theory stories and videos of Egler proclaiming to be married to Ivanka Trump in secret by the governor of New York. Phoenix Police say one of the videos posted by Egler link him to the fire and other threats of violence.
The arrest prompted a joint statement from Arizona Democratic Party Chair Felicia Rotellini and Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair Steven Slugocki.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked by today’s news, but appreciate the swift action by law enforcement to ensure that the suspect is in custody. This is a time for all Arizona Democrats to come together as friends and family. This unfortunate incident will not distract or deter us from achieving the goals we set in 2016. We remain committed to our mission to elect Democrats in November.”
The building was burned early Friday at the party offices in Downtown Phoenix. Firefighters extinguished the blaze but not before causing substantial damage to the state party’s half of the building.
Surveillance video showed a man walking up to the door, breaking glass and lighting a fast-growing fire inside before calmly driving off.
Police were able to link the vehicle to a family member of Egler. It was later found abandoned in Chandler.