NATIONAL NEWS

3rd man arrested in firebombing of Planned Parenthood in Southern California last year

Jul 24, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 2:58 pm

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A third man has been arrested on federal charges related to the firebombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Southern California last year, authorities said Monday.

Xavier Batten, 21, was arrested Friday in Florida and has been ordered to be detained pending trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said in a statement. His attorney, Sylvia Irvin, did not immediately respond Monday to an emailed request for comment on her client’s behalf.

Two other defendants who were arrested last month pleaded not guilty in federal court in California on Monday, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office. A trial for Tibet Ergul, 21, of Irvine, and Chance Brannon, 23, of San Juan Capistrano, a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, was scheduled for September 5, Mrozek said.

The three men are charged with conspiracy and malicious destruction of property by fire and explosion, the statement said. Ergul and Brannon also face additional charges.

The charges are tied to an attack at the clinic in the Southern California city of Costa Mesa at around 1 a.m. on March 13, 2022, authorities said. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at the front of the building and fire spread up a wall and across a ceiling.

Security video recorded two people in hooded sweatshirts and face masks carry out the attack. No one was hurt but the clinic had to cancel about 30 appointments, authorities said.

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3rd man arrested in firebombing of Planned Parenthood in Southern California last year