Portland, OR – The grandmother of a probationer accused of firebombing a federal courthouse in Portland turned her grandson in to police after she recognized him in a video of the attack.
“I believed all his stories,” Karla Fox told the New York Post regarding her 18-year-old grandson, Gabriel “Rico” Agard-Berryhill. “He said he was just hanging out at Riot Ribs [an anarchist food co-op] and doing peaceful things.”
The incident occurred on July 28, when someone hurled a Molotov cocktail or similar improvised explosive device against the wall of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse at approximately 12:12 a.m., the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said in a press release.
The bomb “burst into a fireball when it struck the building causing a report to be heard and felt more than a block away,” according to police.
Video footage of the attack showed the suspect hurling the device over the protective fence before it slammed into the courthouse door, the New York Post reported.
Rioters threw a bomb at the front of the Portland federal courthouse. This wasn’t one of their usual firework explosives. #PortlandRiots #antifa pic.twitter.com/omCq0GtZMj
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 28, 2020
Fox, a 69-year-old staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, said that when she watched the footage, she recognized Agard-Berryhill because she had purchased the distinctive olive-colored vest he was wearing in the firebombing video.
The $26, non-bulletproof vest is emblazoned with the word “ICONS,” according to the New York Post.
“I bought the vest for him after he found one online after getting hit with rubber bullets the night before at the protest,” Fox told the paper.
Fox posted a photo of her grandson wearing the vest as part of a review on the Hibbett clothing site.
“I got this for my grandson who’s a protester downtown, he uses it every night and says it does the job,” the review read, according to the New York Post.
Fox said she had no idea her grandson was involved in the violent nightly riots that have been taking place downtown for the past 10 weeks.
“I don’t condone any of this,” Fox told The Post. “I am amazed at all of these events.”
After a relative contacted her about the video, Fox took to Twitter to share her thoughts about her grandson’s actions.
“This is my only grandson, I love him to death, and didn’t know he was going to do such a bad thing, I had been posting several things about the antifa and BLM, he knows I am against those riots bigtime … he chose his poison,” she wrote under her Twitter handle, @TRUMPSGIRL2020.
In a series of text messages to the New York Post on July 30, Agard-Berryhill said that he had not been contacted by law enforcement in connection with the firebombing.
“The device I’ve been accused of allegedly throwing was allegedly given to me by an unknown protestor with full face coverings,” he told the paper. “I was allegedly told that it was a strobe firework that wouldn’t damage the building or harm anyone around it.”
Agard-Berryhill contacted his probation officer later that night and said he wanted to surrender, the New York Post reported.
He allegedly told investigators that someone had given him an object that had “yellow cardboard packaging with blue stripes, was the size of a small ‘V8’ can, and had a green fuse,” according to an affidavit filed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
He was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on a charge of felony arson, but was subsequently released without bail.
He faces a minimum of five years in prison if he is convicted of the charge against him.
“No legitimate protest message is advanced by throwing a large explosive device against a government building,” Oregon District U.S. Attorney Billy Williams told the New York Post. “Mr. Agard-Berryhill’s actions could have gravely injured law enforcement officers positioned near the courthouse, other protesters standing nearby, or himself.”
According to Fox, her grandson asked her in a text message to delete the picture she posted of him wearing the “ICON” vest, as well as the product review she wrote.
She said Agard-Berryhill was convicted of a felony charge as a juvenile and is currently on probation, the New York Post reported.
He also served two years at the Rogue Valley Youth Correction Facility, Fox said.
“I love my grandson and pray for him to get the help he needs,” she told the New York Post.