Man Sentenced for Hurling Molotov Cocktail at Newark Planned Parenthood
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Delaware
WILMINGTON, Del. – David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that 20-year-old Samuel Gulick, of Middletown, was sentenced in federal court yesterday for crimes associated with fire-bombing a Planned Parenthood facility in Newark, Delaware in January 2020. U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark imposed a sentence of 26 months in prison, to be followed by three (3) years of supervised release. While under court supervision, the defendant will participate in a structured mental-health treatment plan in a controlled environment. This sentence was a joint request from the parties, and is based on a threat assessment performed by the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU).
According to court documents and statements made in open court, at approximately 2:16 a.m., on January 3, 2020, Samuel Gulick drove to the Planned Parenthood facility in Newark, Delaware. Video surveillance captured Gulick standing on the front porch of the building and spray-painting the phrase “Deus Vult” – Latin for “God Wills” – in red letters. Gulick then stepped off the front porch, lit an object and threw it at the front window. The object, a Molotov Cocktail, exploded and Gulick ran away. The fire burned for approximately one minute before self-extinguishing; the front window and porch of the building were damaged.
Law enforcement arrested Gulick the following day. At the time, Gulick was still in high school. Shortly after his arrest, the FBI’s BAU performed a comprehensive threat assessment of the defendant. This included a review of his prior psychological and medical records, an independent diagnosis by a clinical forensic psychologist, and an extended in-person interview. Based on this data, BAU opined that an extended period of incarceration could entrench the defendant’s mindset, without providing him with the skills needed to change his life.
Thereafter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office worked with the BAU, defense counsel, U.S. Probation, and a nationally-renowned behavioral analyst to craft a long-term treatment plan to address the defendant’s medical, developmental, and behavioral needs. The defendant will adhere to this plan for three years and be under court supervision. For the first year, the defendant will be housed at a Residential Reentry Center – a facility that will enable him to participate in therapy sessions in a secure environment. Thereafter, if he makes appropriate progress, Gulick will be released to a less restrictive setting.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Weiss stated, “This was an egregious crime. I applaud the investigative efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement who worked quickly to identify and bring Mr. Gulick to justice. But this was a team effort in more ways than one. I also want to thank the mental health and behavioral science professionals – including those in FBI’s BAU – for the hard work and many hours they devoted to this case.”
“My appreciation goes out to the multiple law enforcement agencies who quickly worked together to identify and arrest Mr. Gulick. In only a few hours following his attack, investigative operations were successful, ensuring Mr. Gulick would not pose a further threat to the citizens of Delaware.” said SAC Thomas J. Sobocinski. “Today’s sentencing should serve as a deterrence to others who use violence to discourage women from receiving lawful services those facilities provide.”
“Attacking and terrorizing law-abiding citizens to achieve personal political goals is a heinous act, one which ATF and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate,” said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge L.C Cheeks, Jr. “We are grateful that no one was injured as a result of this defendant’s criminal actions and that the hard work of investigators’ efforts has resulted in him being held accountable for them.”
The FBI Baltimore Division's Wilmington Resident Agency investigated the matter with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Delaware State Police, Newark Police Department, Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office, New Castle County Police Department and University of Delaware Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shawn A. Weede and Ruth Mandelbaum prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the District of Delaware or on PACER by searching for Case No. 21-cr-01.
Updated April 19, 2023