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Press Release

Two Fayetteville Men Indicted for the Arson of Fayetteville’s Market House

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A federal grand jury returned indictments today charging two Fayetteville men with the arson of the City of Fayetteville’s Market House, a National Historic Landmark.

According to the indictments, Charles Anthony Pittman, 32, and Andrew Salvarani Garcia-Smith, 32, took part in the burning of the Market House after the peaceful protests following the death of George Floyd turned violent.

Several local news outlets filmed Pittman carrying around a red gasoline container on the second story of the Market House.  Pittman proceeded to pour the gasoline throughout the second story of the Market House, which was then set on fire.  Prior to any protests, Pittman posted a video on social media discussing his plans to bring the Market House down.

Authorities identified Garcia-Smith after he reported to a local hospital with several burn injuries as a result his actions.  Garcia-Smith threw a bottle of burning liquid into the Market House.  As he did so, the burning liquid spilled back onto him—setting Garcia-Smith’s hair and clothes ablaze.  A social media video of the incident went viral, as several news outlets showed Garcia-Smith running down the steps of the Market House engulfed in flames.   

Pittman and Garcia-Smith are each charged with the malicious burning of a building owned or possessed by an entity receiving Federal assistance. If convicted, both Pittman and Garcia-Smith face mandatory minimum sentences of 7 years in prison.  

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Fayetteville Police Department are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chad Rhoades and J.D. Koesters are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on our website. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:20-mj-01575-JG for Pittman and 5:20-mj-01574-JG for Garcia-Smith.

An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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Updated June 24, 2020