Man Allegedly Set Fire to Planned Parenthood Clinic After Girlfriend's Abortion

The man was arrested this week and hit with multiple charges, including malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

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An Illinois man is accused of setting fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic after becoming “upset” over his girlfriend’s abortion.

The incident reportedly took place on the night of Jan. 15 in Peoria, Illinois, where surveillance cameras captured a man pulling up to the building in a white pickup. The U.S. Department of Justice said the video showed the suspect exit the vehicle while holding a rag that was attached to “a laundry detergent-sized bottle.” The suspect, whose face was concealed by a hood and possible face mask, proceeded to light the rag on fire, smashed one of the clinic’s windows, and then placed the bottle inside. Cameras then showed the man flee the scene on foot.

Authorities quickly received several tips that linked the vehicle to Tyler W. Massengill, a 32-year-old resident of Chillicothe. The man initially denied responsibility for the fire, but eventually admitted to the crime. Massengill told investigators he lit the clinic on fire because he was reminded about an abortion his then-girlfriend received three years ago. He claimed the woman presumably got the procedure in the Peoria area while he was away working in Alaska.

“On or around January 15, 2023, Massengill heard or saw something that reminded him of the abortion, again upsetting him,” the criminal complaint read. “Massengill admitted that, on January 15, 2023, he broke the window out of the PHC and placed a burning container inside of the building.”

According to HuffPost, the man said his actions were “all worth it” if it meant they caused “a little delay” in a person receiving an abortion. A Planned Parenthood representative said the fire resulted in $1 million worth of damages and would force the clinic to be closed for months.

Massengill was charged with malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage, and attempt to damage. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $250,000.

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