An Illinois man faces charges of setting fire to a family planning clinic after he became upset over his girlfriend’s abortion.
On January 15, surveillance footage captured an unknown man arriving at the Peoria clinic in a white van.
According to the Department of Justice, the man exited the vehicle holding a rag and a “bottle of laundry detergent.” The suspect then lights the rag on fire, smashes one of the clinic’s windows, and throws the bottle inside the building.
Shortly after, authorities received information linking the van to 32-year-old Tyler W. Massengill.
When asked about the incident, Massengill initially denied any involvement, but later admitted to setting the building on fire. Investigators say Massengill claimed he committed the crime because he remembered his girlfriend’s abortion she had three years ago.
Apparently, Massengill’s girlfriend had had an abortion at one of the Peoria-area clinics while he was working in Alaska.
“On or about January 15, 2023, Massengill heard or saw something that reminded him of abortion, again upsetting him,” the criminal complaint states. “Massengill admitted that on January 15, 2023, he smashed the PHC window and placed a burning container inside the building.”
Moreover, Massengill feels no remorse for his actions. In fact, he says it was “worth it” if it meant causing a “delay” in someone’s abortion process. Damage to the clinic would amount to $1 million and force the office to close for months.
Nonetheless, Massengill faces malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage and attempt to damage the charges. If convicted of the crimes, Massengill could receive up to 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.