US arrests man for firebombing Wisconsin anti-abortion group's office

The fire at Wisconsin Family Action's office occurred just days after Politico on May 2 published a draft of the US Supreme Court's blockbuster ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

 A threat is spray painted on the building wall near Wisconsin Family Action's offices in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. May 8, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS)
A threat is spray painted on the building wall near Wisconsin Family Action's offices in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. May 8, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS)

US prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Wisconsin man with setting a conservative anti-abortion group's office on fire in May, just days after a leaked draft of the US Supreme Court's ruling overturning the nationwide right to abortion was made public.

Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury was arrested in Massachusetts after authorities said DNA from a thrown-away bag containing a partially eaten burrito had helped them identify who caused the May 8 fire at Wisconsin Family Action's office.

Roychowdhury, who according to court papers lives in Madison, Wisconsin, was charged in a criminal complaint with maliciously attempting to damage and destroy the organization's building. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Madison, Wisconsin (credit: FLICKR)Madison, Wisconsin (credit: FLICKR)

When was this fire started?

The fire at Wisconsin Family Action's office occurred just days after Politico on May 2 published a draft of the US Supreme Court's blockbuster ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion nationwide.

The draft opinion, authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, set off a political firestorm, with abortion-rights supporters staging protests nationwide. It was only marginally different than the final decision issued on June 24.

Wisconsin Family Action says its mission is to "advance Judeo-Christian principles and values in Wisconsin by strengthening, preserving, and promoting marriage, family, life, and liberty."

The group, which opposes abortion, did not respond to a request for comment.

Police have previously said that a Molotov cocktail was thrown inside its building but that it had not ignited and that it appeared a separate fire was started. Graffiti saying "if abortions aren't safe, then you aren't either" was left behind.

According to Tuesday's complaint, investigators recovered DNA from that Molotov cocktail, a building window, and a lighter that matched Roychowdhury's DNA, which law enforcement recovered from a thrown-away burrito meal.

Law enforcement identified Roychowdhury as a suspect after investigating a separate graffiti incident at the Wisconsin State Capitol and tracing a truck used by the suspects to a house in which Roychowdhury resides.