Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Guilty Plea in Congressional Office Bombing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - A Kansas City man will spend 10 years in federal prison for throwing Molotov cocktails through the window of Missouri Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver.

Eric G. King, 29, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty in Missouri Federal Court on Friday to the charge of using explosive materials to commit arson.

Prosecutors charged King in Oct. 2014 with a count each of interfering with an officer of the United States, attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire and explosive materials, arson and receiving and possessing a firearm.

On Sept. 11, 2014, King smashed a window with a hammer and tossed two Molotov cocktails into Cleaver's unoccupied office in Kansas City. There was no fire damage to the building.

Video footage showed King, wearing a large backpack, walking to the congressman's office. He pulled two Molotov cocktails from a backpack, walked around the parking lot for a few minutes hiding from passing cars and threw a hammer through the window.

King then lit the Molotov cocktails, bouncing the first one off the side of the building and pitched the second one through the window before sprinting away.

Kansas City, Missouri police were already investigating King for a string of anti-government graffiti vandalism incidents - one involving a Bank of America building - that occurred over Labor Day 2014 in the immediate vicinity of Cleaver's office.

Investigators found statements on social media from King saying "KC Fight Back celebrated its first labor day with a lovely variety of action, action and more action against a series of government and Financial properties," "KC Fight Back Insurrectionist Collective is alive" and "These cops aren't going to kill themselves, get to the streets."

King described himself as an "anarchist since about the age of 17" in a letter sent from Leavenworth Detention Center to various blogs and websites shortly after his arrest in 2014. An online search revealed no information about the "KC Fight Back Insurrectionist Collective."

On Aug. 10, 2014, King posted "I want to leave KC better than I found or an (sic) ashes," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

The day before attacking Cleaver's office, King posted "KC Fight Back has been in serious in its Insurrection activity, and that is the thing that is giving me the most pride in my life."

When officers arrested King leaving his apartment on Sept. 26, they found a can of red spray paint, lighter fluid and a plastic soda bottle containing a clear liquid with a tube sock placed over it.

Police found a handwritten letter titled "Open House Committee" in King's apartment. In the letter, King admitted that the arsons "were committed solely by the KC FIGHT BACK Insurrectionist Collective."

The letter contained a to-do list that included rounding up paint thinner or alcohol, covers for the tattoos on King's hands and face, three glass bottles, paper towels and a driver who "must be someone trust with (sic)."

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms crime lab tests also matched King's DNA to the DNA found on both the wick and bottle.

If he'd been convicted on all four counts, King could have received a maximum penalty of up to 60 years in prison and $760,000 in fines.

By pleading guilty, King will instead serve the mandatory 10 years in federal prison without parole, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Don Ledford said.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.