Seattle – A 25-year-old Seattle man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 5 years in prison for arson and possession of a stolen firearm related to his conduct during civil unrest on May 30, 2020, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Tyre Wayne Means, Jr., 25, will serve the sentence concurrent to a sentence in Kitsap County Superior court for burglary. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said, “Your conduct was reckless, destructive and extremely dangerous to those who were there for peaceful protest.”
“The right to peacefully protest and gather in support of social and political causes is one of the dearest and most important rights that we enjoy in the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman. “This defendant is one of a smaller group who chose to abuse the cover of lawful protests to carry out acts of violence. His actions risked the safety of peaceful protestors and undercut their important messages and causes.”
According to records filed in the case, just after 4 p.m. on May 30, 2020, Means, Jr., was captured on video lighting a paper towel and placing it in the back of a Seattle Police patrol car parked outside of Nordstrom on Sixth Avenue in downtown. Other persons in the crowd fed the fire with lighter fluid and other accelerants, and the vehicle was destroyed by fire. After he lit one patrol car on fire, Means, Jr., is observed on video reaching through the destroyed rear window of a different patrol car and removing a rifle bag. Means, Jr., opened the bag and looked inside. Means, Jr., is seen fighting with an unidentified man who tried to retrieve the rifle bag before Means, Jr., ran from the scene. A subsequent surveillance video on Pine Street, around the corner from where the rifle was stolen, shows Means, Jr., in a fight with another man. While Means, Jr., and the man are throwing punches, an unidentified man picks up the rifle bag and ultimately walks away. Later that day, the rifle was anonymously returned to the Seattle Police West Precinct.
Means, Jr., was identified as the suspect in the video by his distinctive clothing, jewelry, tattoos, and association with a female who also had distinctive tattoos and a significant social media presence. Means, Jr., was arrested in Bremerton, Washington, where he was meeting with his Washington State Department of Corrections probation officer.
Means, Jr., is prohibited from possessing firearms due to two felony convictions in the state of Georgia: serious injury by vehicle and obstructing law enforcement by use of threats or violence. In Washington, Means, Jr., has a felony conviction for domestic violence that includes a no-contact order–that order also prohibits him from possessing firearms.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the FBI and the Seattle Police Department.
The case was 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 Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.