George Floyd

Illinois Man Accused of Handing Out Explosives at Minneapolis Protest

Matthew Rupert, of Galesburg, was arrested in Chicago for violating the city's emergency curfew

Protester crouching on the ground with police behind them
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An Illinois man traveled to Minneapolis where he handed out explosives and encouraged individuals to throw them at police while streaming live on Facebook, federal prosecutors said in court documents.

At approximately 8 p.m. on May 29, Matthew Rupert, of Galesburg, posted a two-hour live video to Facebook, in which he offered people explosives and suggested they throw the bombs at officers during demonstrations following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

"...They got SWAT trucks up there... I've got some bombs if some of you all want to throw them back, bomb them back... light it and throw it," Rupert said in the Facebook Live video, according to a criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent.

Rupert handed out a destructive device which appeared to be a "commercial item with a cylindrical container, hobby fuse and a main charge capable of exploding," the agent stated.

The Illinois man and a number of individuals also went to a Sprint store where Rupert went inside, and after leaving, stated "I lit it on fire." Approximately 10 minutes later, Rupert traveled to a nearby Office Depot and filmed himself taking items from the store, according to court documents.

At approximately 10 p.m. on May 30, Rupert posted that he was on his way to Chicago, and the following day posted multiple videos of him in and around the Chicago area.

In one video, the suspect stated he was at "South Plymouth and Ida B Wells," waiting for his brother and could be heard saying "let's start a riot," and "I'm going to start doing some damage."

While in Chicago, Rupert was seen on video entering a convenience store that had been broken into and allegedly placed tobacco products in his backpack. At approximately 2:21 a.m. on May 31, Chicago police arrested Rupert and his associates for violating the city's emergency curfew.

Officers subsequently searched his vehicle and found several destructive devices as well as a hammer, heavy-duty flashlight and cash, court documents stated.

In an interview with police, a woman who identified herself as Rupert's girlfriend said the suspect told her he traveled with a group of individuals to "riot," and videos confirmed he went to Minnesota with multiple people.

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