• Search

Portland Rioters Arrested For Trying To Burn Down Justice Center, Attacking Police With Explosives

Portland, OR – Two rioters accused of trying to burn down the Multnomah County Justice Center and attacking police with explosives during a night of violence in September were arrested on multiple felony counts on Tuesday, according to court documents.

The charges originally filed against Cyan Bass and Hannah Lilly, both 21, were initially dropped or dismissed, KOIN reported.

The cases were reinstated on Tuesday, after the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office determined law enforcement had conducted enough “additional investigative follow up” for the cases to be presented to a grand jury, according to the district attorney’s office.

Both suspects were arrested by Portland police the same day.

Lilly has been charged with riot, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, two counts of first-degree arson, and one count of first-degree attempted arson, KOIN reported.

Bass has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon, attempted assault on a public safety officer, riot, unlawful possession of a destructive device, first-degree attempted assault, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, two counts of first-degree arson, and first-degree attempted arson.

A Molotov cocktail created a massive fireball as rioters attacked police in downtown Portland on Sept. 23.

Hundreds of rioters converged on the police department’s Central Precinct and the Multnomah County Justice Center and shattered windows with “softball sized rocks,” the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said in a press release at the time.

The mob used slingshots to launch objects through the broken-out windows, and tried to force their way into the precinct lobby, according to police.

The rioters ignored orders to disperse, and continued to return to the area to fire commercial-grade fireworks at officers.

The group lit the north side of the Justice Center on fire at approximately 10:16 p.m., leading authorities to declare the gathering to be a riot.

Officers were attacked with green lasers, full soup cans, and other projectiles as they worked to disperse the mob.

Rioters threw Molotov cocktails at police on at least three occasions – including one that hit an officer in the foot.

“A Portland Fire Medic was nearby and able to extinguish the flames,” the PPB said. “Had this incendiary not been stopped immediately, it could have caused serious physical injury to the officer.”

Video footage from the attack showed a rioter hurling the flaming container towards the officers.

It exploded into a large fireball as it hit the pavement, scattering officers and rioters.

The crowd burst into cheers after the firebomb nearly burned the officers alive.

Police chased after the suspect, but it is unclear whether or not anyone was apprehended in connection with the attack.

According to investigators, Bass was responsible for setting the Multnomah County Justice Center on fire twice that night, causing over $1,000 in damages to the occupied building, KOIN reported.

Police said they also spotted Bass “holding a crowbar and using a slingshot or wrist-rocket to shoot projectiles through the windows of the [Portland Police Bureau] PPB Central Precinct portion of the building,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, which filed federal charges against him after the state initially dismissed its case.

Bass has been further accused of throwing an explosive at a law enforcement officer, KOIN reported.

The device failed to explode upon impact.

Investigators said Bass was carrying a crowbar, two lighters, marbles, a slingshot, and a clear bottle containing an unknown liquid when he was originally arrested on the night of the riot.

Three officers were injured during the overnight mayhem on Sept. 23.

At least 13 people were arrested.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."