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Press Release

Maryland Man Sentenced to 120 Months in Prison for Setting Fire to U.S. Supreme Court Police Cars on Capitol Hill

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

            WASHINGTON – Cody Michael Tarner, 26, of Hagerstown, Maryland, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for pouring gasoline over several U.S. Supreme Court Police cars on Capitol Hill and setting one ablaze, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Special Agent in Charge Sanjay Virmani of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Counterterrorism Division, and Chief Pamela A. Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department.

            Tarner pleaded guilty on January 9, 2024, in federal court to a charge of arson before U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth. In addition to the prison term, Judge Lamberth ordered Tarner to serve three years of supervised release and pay restitution in the amount of $32,371.42.

            According to the government’s evidence, on July 15, 2020, Tarner drove onto the United States Supreme Court’s property located on First Street Northeast, Washington D.C., and parked his vehicle in an employee-only parking spot. Tarner got out of his car and walked around the Supreme Court property. Tarner then returned to his car and pulled out a red gas can. At 1:48 p.m., Tarner was observed on security camera footage pouring gasoline onto three unmarked Supreme Court Police vehicles parked in Supreme Court employee-only parking spaces. The unmarked vehicles had emergency police lights visible from the outside of the vehicles, and one of the vehicles had emergency police lights on the roof of the vehicle.

            While pouring the gasoline on the vehicles, some of it splashed onto Tarner’s clothing. Tarner lit one of the vehicles on fire. The result was a violent ignition of the gasoline. Tarner was engulfed in flames resulting in severe burns and injuries to himself. The fire seriously damaged two of the police vehicles, one of which was a total loss.

            Tarner admitted to starting the fire with unleaded gas he had bought in Pennsylvania for that purpose. The investigation revealed that Tarner had several prior encounters with law enforcement in which he expressed anti-government and militia extremist ideologies. Tarner also claimed to be the leader of an identified militia group.

            This case was investigated by FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Supreme Court of the United States Police – Protective Intelligence Unit, and the Metropolitan Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory V. Cole and Attorney James Peterson.

Updated May 14, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-420