California man charged in attack on Republican club office
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California man has been charged with arson in a May firebomb attack on a local Republican club office.
Carlos Espriu pleaded not guilty Friday to state charges of arson and igniting a destructive device in connection with the incident, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s office.
Espriu, 23, of Palm Desert is scheduled to appear in federal court Monday on a federal charge of attempted arson, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Espriu is accused of attacking the East Valley Republican Women Federated office in La Quinta shortly after 1 a.m. on May 31.
U.S. authorities said in a statement that Espriu used a metal baseball bat to break windows at the office and tossed an incendiary device made of bottles through the window before fleeing.
Surveillance video shows a man returning to the office minutes later, smashing more windows and retrieving the device.
Authorities identified Espriu as the suspect after the club offered a reward for information about the firebombing, which prompted several residents to give information, the statement said.
The firebombing caused limited damage to the office, the statement said.
Espriu was arrested Wednesday and initially held on $1 million bail, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
A email message sent to Espriu’s attorney Leonard Cravens seeking comment was not immediately returned.