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WILMINGTON, N.C. – Two Fayetteville men pled guilty to charges stemming from the burning of Fayetteville’s Market House during the period of civil unrest in May 2020.

According to court documents, Charles Anthony Pittman, 32, and Andrew Salvarani Garcia-Smith, 32, took part in the burning of Fayetteville’s Market House, a National Historic Landmark.  As recorded by several media outlets, Pittman carried a gasoline container to the second story of the Market House and waived it to the crowd before pouring gasoline onto the floor inside.  As the gasoline-soaked area caught ablaze, a City of Fayetteville employee saw Pittman run out of the building.

Investigators discovered the identity of Garcia-Smith after a social media post went viral.  As reported by local and national media outlets, the video showed Garcia-Smith picking up a bottle filled with flammable liquids and throwing it into the Market House.  The liquid spilled back onto Garcia-Smith, setting his clothes and hair on fire.  Investigators found Garcia-Smith in a local burn center, where Garcia-Smith admitted to being the individual in the video.

On September 29, 2020, Pittman pled guilty to two charges of the malicious burning of a building and inciting a riot.  On November 5, 2020, Garcia-Smith pled guilty to one charge of malicious burning of a building.  Both Pittman and Garcia-Smith face mandatory minimum sentences of 5 years’ imprisonment for their actions.  Pittman and Garcia-Smith’s sentencings are scheduled for the January 2021 and February 2021 terms of court, respectively.   

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II accepted the plea. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Fayetteville Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys J.D. Koesters and Chad Rhoades are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on our website. Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 5:20-CR-305-M and 5:20-CR-304-M.

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The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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