Renton man sentenced for role in plot to burn down Seattle Police union building

Justin C. Moore brought 12 gasoline-filled molotov cocktails to 2020 protest.

A 35-year-old Renton man was sentenced on Sept. 13 in U.S. District Court to 40 months in prison for his role in a plot to burn the Seattle Police Officers Guild building in downtown Seattle during the September 2020 protests.

The defendant, Justin Christopher Moore, pleaded guilty in September 2022.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Lauren King said, “What you did showed a complete disregard for human life. Our ability to peacefully assemble is a fundamental right to our society. Your acts of violence can deter people from exercising that fundamental right.”

According to records filed in the case, Moore made and carried a box of 12 Molotov cocktails in a protest march to the Seattle Police Officers Guild building on Sept. 7, 2020. Ultimately the marchers were moved away from the building in downtown Seattle. Police smelled gasoline and grew concerned about the intentions of protesters. The box containing the 12 gasoline devices was found in the parking lot next to the Seattle Police Officers Guild building.

Using video from that day and from other protests, as well as information from the electronic devices of other co-conspirators, Moore was confirmed as the person seen carrying the box of destructive devices.

In June 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Moore’s residence. They seized clothing that is consistent with the images of what Moore was wearing when he carried the Molotov cocktails. From the basement storage area, they also recovered numerous items that are consistent with manufacturing explosive devices. Law enforcement recovered a notebook in which Moore had made entries related to the manufacturing of destructive devices and the ingredients necessary.

In asking for a 41-month sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg noted that carrying and leaving the box of explosive bottles was inherently dangerous.

“Moore’s offense was extremely dangerous and created a substantial risk of injury to numerous bystanders,” Greenberg said. “Moore carried the box of twelve Molotov cocktails in a crowd of over 1,000 people who were participating in the protest march. All of them were in harm’s way if one of the devices had exploded.”

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the Seattle Police Department.