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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Monday, April 24, 2017
Contact: Los Angeles Field Division

Da Vinci Apt. Arsonists Takes 15-Year Plea for $100 Million Fire

LOS ANGELES – Today, Dawud Abdulwali, 58, took a 15-year plea agreement, to avoid a trial for aggravated arson and arson of a structure, for starting the devastating fire that destroyed the unfinished, seven-story Da Vinci apartment complex, at 900 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2014. Investigators estimated the fire caused more than a $100 million in damages.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team (NRT) responded to scene to join the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and Los Angeles ATF special agents who worked jointly on the investigation.

More than 250 LAFD firefighters contended with a 1.26 million square-foot structure. In addition to the structure itself, three nearby high-rise buildings were damaged. There were no reported injuries.

“As the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson, ATF partnered with LA Fire Department sharing its technical and scientific expertise along with its cutting-edge resources to solve this unnecessary and violent crime,” said Eric Harden, special agent in charge, of the ATF Los Angeles Field Division.

“While the motives in arson acts may vary from greed to plain evil, ATF’s determination and will to place these criminals behind bars is solid and pointed. We will continue to seek out, investigate and remove arsonists from society so our communities can be safe, Harden added.

ATF’s NRT consists of highly trained agents, forensic chemists, engineers, EEOs, electrical engineers, fire protection engineers, canine handlers, forensic auditors and other technical experts who deploy within 24 hours to major explosion and fire scenes anywhere in the U.S.

The NRT and LA ATF special agents assisted by completing a comprehensive examination of the scene, followed up on countless leads, interviewed numerous individuals, poured through social media sites, recovered security video, and worked tirelessly with LAFD and LA County District Attorney Jacki Lacey’s team to secure evidence for this investigation.

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Los Angeles Field Division