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Man who set police cars on fire at the Supreme Court charged with arson

Cody Michael Tarner of Hagerstown was indicted for arson and destruction of government property, after he allegedly doused three Supreme Court Police cars with gas.

WASHINGTON — A Hagerstown man was indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges related to the burning of police cars outside the Supreme Court on July 15. 

Cody Michael Tarner, 23, of Hagerstown, Maryland was indicted for arson and destruction of government property, after he allegedly doused three Supreme Court Police vehicles with gasoline, causing two to ignite. 

According to court documents, Tarner was observed on Supreme Court Police security camera footage parking his vehicle in an employee-only parking spot on Supreme Court property at 1 First Street Northeast. He was observed walking around the property for a few minutes before returning to his vehicle and pulling out what appeared to be a red gas canister. 

Around 1:48 p.m. security footage shows Tarner pouring an unknown liquid from the red canister on three unmarked police cars parked in Supreme Court employee-only parking spaces, and some of the liquid splashed on his clothes and body. 

RELATED: Man faces severe injuries after allegedly setting SCOTUS PD vehicle on fire outside Supreme Court building

"All the unmarked vehicles had emergency police lights visible from the outside of the vehicles, and one of the vehicles had emergency police lights on the roof of the vehicle," court documents said. 

He then lit one of the cars on fire resulting in a "violent ignition of the liquid."Of the three police vehicles, one was completely burned, one was damaged and the third did not catch fire.

Tarner also suffered severe burns to approximately 40% of his body from the incident, as he was engulfed in flames. He was brought to court on Aug. 13 after his hospitalization.

Tarner is currently being held without bond pending a trial. The case is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

“The actions taken by this individual destroyed federal property and were heinous and could have resulted in the loss of lives,” Acting United States Attorney Michael R. Sherwin said. “In addition, members of law enforcement were targeted and this type of action will never be acceptable as our office will continue to prosecute crimes such as this to the fullest extent of the law.”

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