U.S. Attorney Wrigley Announces the Arrest of a Lisbon, ND, Man for the Violent Ax Attack on U.S. Senator John Hoeven’s Office on December 21, 2020
FARGO – United States Attorney Drew Wrigley announced that a federal grand jury has indicted Thomas Alexander Starks, age 30 of Lisbon, ND, for Damage of Government Property, 18 USC 1361. The Indictment was unsealed today alleging that on December 21, 2020, Starks went to the downtown Fargo office of United States Senator John Hoeven and using an ax, caused substantial damage to the windows, intercom system, and doorframe. The monetary damages caused by Starks’ exceed $1,000.
"The axe attack alleged in this indictment is another attempt to blur the line between threats and speech, resorting to violence in the name of political action" said US Attorney Drew Wrigley, "but we will not allow such incursions, and we will remain unyielding in our support of law enforcement, peaceful speech and lawfulness."
"Vicious and dangerous attacks like this – especially on a government official’s office - will not be tolerated by the FBI," said Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis field office. "This defendant’s violent and destructive behavior reflects a total disregard for the rule of law. The defendant will now be held to account for his unlawful actions. The charges announced today reflect our steadfast commitment to identifying violent criminals, enforcing the law, and protecting elected officials from acts of violence," Paul added.
Grand jury Indictments are allegations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Fargo Police Department and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, and the case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office, with Assistant United States Attorney Richard Lee assigned to the case.
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