On Saturday, an armed man was fatally shot throwing what authorities called “incendiary devices” at a detention center in Washington state during attempting to set a commercial-sized propane tank on fire, said Tacoma police.
The 69-year-old Willem Van Spronsen, near about 4 a.m threw “lit objects” at buildings and cars in a parking lot, said the police. A vehicle caught fire due to this. As per court records, the man was arrested last year at a protest at the privately owned detention center and immigration and Customs Enforcement called the man an “anti-immigration enforcement protester.”
The Island resident Vashon died at the scene following shots were fired said the police. The head of the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, Shawn Fallak, said in a statement, “This could have resulted in the mass murder of staff and detainees housed at the facility had he been successful at setting the tank ablaze.”
“These are the kinds of incidents that keep you up at night,” he added. Agency spokeswoman Tanya Roman told The Washington Post no ICE employees or detainees were injured.
The attack came as thousands protested at ICE facilities nationwide ahead of the agency’s planned mass arrests of undocumented immigrants on Sunday. However, the Trump administration stated that it will focus about 2,000 families for deportation from 10 cities except for Seattle.
According to a prosecutor’s written statement, during the incident, Van Spronsen lunged at a police officer who was detaining a fellow protester at the Northwest Detention Center. Van Spronsen wrapped his arms around the officer’s neck and shoulders to free the other.
Prosecutor wrote Spronsen was escorted away through dozens of screaming protesters. Officers took a baton and a folding knife that the man had been carrying. The court’s record also showed that he pleaded guilty to obstructing a law enforcement officer. Deb Bartley, a long-time friend of Van Spronsen told the sources, “I think this was a suicide. But then he was able to kind of do it in a way that spoke to his political beliefs. . . . I know he went down there knowing he was going to die.”