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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Hendersonville Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Arson Charges In Connection To Metro Courthouse Fire

NASHVILLE – A Hendersonville, Tennessee man charged last year with the malicious destruction of property at the Metro Courthouse pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee.  Wesley Somers, 26, was charged in a criminal complaint on June 3, 2020, following protests which escalated to acts of violence and intimidation on the evening of May 30, 2020.  Somers was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 14, 2020. 

On the afternoon of May 30, 2020, protesters gathered in downtown Nashville following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Later in the evening, several persons gathered in front of the Nashville City Hall, also known as the Metro Courthouse, and began smashing the windows of the premises and spraying graffiti on the Courthouse facade. One or more fires were also set inside of the Courthouse at this time.

Numerous video clips and photographs of the destruction at the Courthouse were posted on social media websites, on the websites for news outlets, and on other Internet sites. Somers is depicted in video clips and photographs from that evening attempting to smash windows of the Courthouse.  One photograph depicted Somers holding an unknown accelerant, which had been set on fire, and placing the accelerant through the window of the Courthouse.

Somers was quickly identified by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department – Specialized Investigation Division, after receiving numerous tips from citizens.

Somers will be sentenced on December 1, 2021, and faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; the FBI; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Schrader; and Trial Attorney Justin Sher of the Department’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case. 

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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
David Boling Public Affairs Officer 615-736-5956 david.boling2@usdoj.gov
Updated June 29, 2021