‘We Came to Riot’: Illinois Man Livestreamed Lighting Fires, Handing Out Explosives in Minneapolis, Charges Say
Andy Mannix, Star Tribune, June 1, 2020
An Illinois man who came to Minneapolis to riot over the weekend livestreamed himself handing out explosives, destroying property and appearing to set a Sprint store on fire, according to charges filed in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota on Monday afternoon.
Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, is charged with civil disorder, possession of unregistered explosives and participating in and organizing riots, making him the first to face federal prosecution for allegedly taking part in the fires, looting and other violence that engulfed the Twin Cities since the death of George Floyd in police custody.
Last Thursday night, Rupert, of Galesburg, Ill., posted on his public Facebook page an invitation for “goons” to join him in traveling to Minneapolis, where he said he was renting hotel rooms and planned to wreak havoc and “take hella good videos.”
The livestreamed videos, cited as evidence by FBI investigators in the complaint, show his role in the riots on Friday night and early Monday, including distributing explosives and then announcing, “He’s throwing my bombs … they’re going to bomb the police with them.”
“Good shot, my boy,” he shouted after one of the explosions, according to the complaint. “We came here to riot,” he declared later.
Later in the night, Rupert asked for lighter fluid and entered a Sprint store, according to the complaint. “I lit it on fire,” he said, before entering an Office Depot and stealing items from it.
On Saturday night, Rupert posted to Facebook his plans to return to Chicago and riot there. “[Let me know] who’s on board I got cars we got this,” he wrote, updating later that he would arrive in Chicago in two hours.
Videos show him proclaiming, “Let’s start a riot” and “I’m going to start doing some damage,” according to the complaint.