An investigation into a California “arson spree” is stemming from the belief that the suspected suspects sent letters to President Trump and others to imply they had orchestrated the series of attacks.
Local news station KTLA reported that Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, who is leading the investigation, said at a news conference that multiple fires in Fresno, Kings and Madera counties were intentionally set last week.
She said it is not believed that the suspect(s) were directly targeting anyone but did suggest that the crimes have “special meanings” to those in the areas affected.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Mims identified 37-year-old Siale Angilau, who was arrested in Fresno County on Friday, as a suspect.
Angilau was also identified as the suspect accused of randomly shooting three men on Jan. 19 in Fresno. All three of the victims survived the shooting.
Marcelo Huerta, an uncooperative employee at a dairy where Angilau was working, was reportedly the recipient of one of the letters.
Huerta told news station KMPH that the letter said Angilau’s intent was to “kill people and leave nothing behind.”
Court documents indicate that Angilau is charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Angilau is still in jail on $1 million bail.
A Ventura County Sheriff’s Office representative said Angilau had a 2013 felony conviction related to the use of a firearm and admitted to the shootings.
Meanwhile, Mims called for the public’s help in determining whether additional suspects may be at large.
“We are requesting the public’s help in identifying who may have done this,” she said, according to NBC’s Southern California affiliate KCAL.
Additionally, she encouraged any individual who may have received letters or information regarding the cases to contact authorities.
“It’s pretty hard to create fires, burn buildings and create a lot of damage without the assistance of an outside agency. So this is why we are asking all of the community to take this seriously,” Mims said.
More than a dozen messages found at the scene of a suspicious fire in Kings County appeared to talk about the suspects sending letters to Trump, Mims said.