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Press Release

Alaska man who conspired to set fire to the Seattle Police East Precinct pleads guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Defendant caught on surveillance coordinating with black-clad group to disable exit doors, place combustibles near building to start fire

Seattle – A 20-year-old Alaska man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit arson in connection with the fire he set Monday, August 24, 2020, at the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  DESMOND DAVID-PITTS was arrested shortly after the fire.  DAVID‑PITTS faces up to five years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on April 27, 2021.

According to records filed in the case, DAVID-PITTS had arrived in Seattle from Alaska just three days before the arson.  After marching with the group of protestors in downtown Seattle, DAVID-PITTS is seen on surveillance video piling up trash against the sally-port door at the Seattle Police East Precinct.  Over an eleven-minute period, the surveillance video captures DAVID-PITTS not only piling up the trash, but repeatedly lighting it on fire and feeding the flames with more trash.  While DAVID-PITTS was lighting the fire, other people who appeared on the surveillance were attempting to use crowbars and cement-like materials to try to disable the door next to the sally-port to prevent officers from exiting the building.  At various times, DAVID-PITTS was communicating with the black-clad individuals who were attempting to disable the door and light other fires around the building.  Despite efforts to disable the door, officers were able to get outside and extinguish the flames.  DAVID-PITTS was seen on surveillance working with the others to cut through a chain-link fence that was a barrier around the building.  All the fires were extinguished by Seattle Police Officers and members of the Seattle Fire Department.

DAVID-PITTS was identified less than an hour later in the crowd outside the precinct because of the distinctive pink camouflage trousers he was wearing.  He was arrested without incident.

Conspiracy to commit arson is punishable by up to five years in prison.  Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence within the guidelines range calculated by the Court.  The ultimate sentence is up to Judge Coughenour based on a number of sentencing factors.

DAVID-PITTS has agreed to pay restitution to the Seattle Police Department for damage to the building.

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Seattle Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated January 25, 2021

Violent Crime