Chicago police, ATF, seeking to ID suspects in arson fires following George Floyd's death

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police and federal investigators are working to identify people who set fire to dozens of businesses and vehicles following the death of George Floyd.

Many businesses went up in flames across the Chicago area during violent unrest. Because of the sheer number of fires that were set during that weekend, federal officials were brought in to help.

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Chicago police and the ATF are looking to identify more than a dozen persons of interest wanted in connection with arson fires in the wake of the death of George Floyd.



Many businesses went up in flames across the Chicago area during violent unrest. Because of the sheer number of fires that were set during that weekend, federal officials were brought in to help.

The national response team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms spent weeks in Chicago going through surveillance video. On Tuesday, they released images from just 10 of those fires.

RELATED: Nearly 700 arrested by police in unrest in wake of George Floyd's death

On May 31, inside Englewood's City Sports store at 65th and Halsted, two suspects walked through the already looted business. One leans down and uses a lighter to set fire to some papers on the ground.

A few miles away, at a beauty supply store in Archer Heights, a similar scene played out. A suspect is seen inside the beauty supply store pouring some sort of liquid over a counter, then setting fire to it.

"The acts, the criminal acts were devastating to many businesses," said Rosa Escareno, of the City of Chicago's Consumer Protection and Business Affairs Dept. "Many will not be coming back."

The cleanup from these fires continues, even now. It's been exactly one month since that painful weekend in May, when peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd led to days of civil unrest in Chicago.

Hundreds of stores were looted and dozens of fires set from the Loop to the South and West Sides.

"Business owners throughout Chicago saw their hopes and dreams go up in flames with these fires," Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said. "Communities have also suffered. Not all of these businesses will reopen. Many will remain blighted for years to come. Vacant storefronts make it more difficult for people living nearby to get the goods and services they sorely need."



The Chicago Police Department, in conjunction with federal officials, released surveillance video and photographs of 19 people suspected in just some of the 53 fires that were set between May 31 and June 3. The hope is that by making these public, they may be able to arrest those responsible for the fires.

"We want them to look for anything, anything that might help us in law enforcement identify people who can help us put information together," said U.S. Attorney John Lausch, Northern District of Illinois. "That could be tattoos. It could be hair, it could be a face, it could be articles of clothing that they're wearing."

Chicago police have published the surveillance images and videos of these fires on their Youtube channel.

Those arrested may be facing federal charges as the U.S Attorney's office said the arson investigations are part of a national effort to prosecute those responsible for crimes committed during that time of civil unrest.

Anyone with information is asked to contact contact CPD at 312-745-6233 or email ATFTips@atf.gov. Information can also be submitted anonymously via www.CPDTip.com or www.ReportIt.com on the Report It mobile app, available on Google Play or Apple Apps Store.
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