Authorities say the dead suspect was also arrested last year for assaulting a police officer during another immigration protest.
TACOMA, WA—On Saturday, an armed 69-year old “anarchist and anti-facsist” was killed by police outside a federal immigration detention center in Tacoma after he reportedly threw incendiary devices, causing one car to burn.
Tacoma police officers were called around 4 am, when ICE agents saw a man armed with a rifle.
“The man was allegedly throwing the incendiary devices at outbuildings and cars in the center’s parking lot,” according to the News Tribune. “One car caught fire and burned.”
Police also say the suspect, Willem Van Spronsen of Vashon Island, was trying to blow up a propane tank at the facility.
Upon their arrival, police engaged the suspect and reported “shots fired.”
The four responding officers all opened fire and then took cover, uninjured,” according to the Seattle Times.
Following the exchange, the officers located the suspect who was dead at the scene.
The incident occurred about six hours after a protest at the facility and the incident, according to one of the suspect’s friends, may have been “suicide by cop.”
Deb Bartley, a friend of Van Spronsen’s for about 20 years, described him as an anarchist and anti-fascist, and she believes his attack on the detention center was intended to provoke a fatal conflict.
“He was ready to end it,” Bartley said. “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.”
She and other friends of Van Spronsen got letters in the mail “just saying goodbye.” He also wrote what she referred to as a manifesto, which she declined to discuss in detail but predicted would be taken by authorities.
Here it is
ICE Bomber’s manifesto:
“I am Antifa” pic.twitter.com/B38PyaFc2v
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) July 14, 2019
According to court documents, last year, Van Spronsen jumped on the back of an officer and “Van Spronsen wrapped both of his arms around Officer Robillard’s neck and shoulders,” while the officer was trying to detain a protester, reported KOMONews.com.
Months before Willem Van Spronsen carried out his domestic terrorist attack against @Icegov, CNN profiled the far-left militia group to which he belonged, and encouraged their viewers to support the group. pic.twitter.com/KO1gm7XTkj
— Far Left Watch (@FarLeftWatch) July 14, 2019
“ANTIFA is rallying around their fallen comrade, posting from their social media accounts lionizing Van Spronsen as a martyr and a hero for the anti-fascist cause,” reports Big League Politics.