DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Wisconsin

For Immediate Release

Monday, July 2, 2018
Matthew D. Krueger
, United States Attorney
Contact: Dean Puschnig

Milwaukee Man Arrested for Attempted Arson of Milwaukee Police Station

Matthew D. Krueger, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on July 2, 2018, Van L. Mayes (a/k/a Vaun L. Mayes) (age 31) of Milwaukee was arrested and charged by a criminal complaint with attempted arson, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 844(i), 922(g), and 924(c)(1)(B)(ii).
The complaint alleges that Mayes and others planned to firebomb the Milwaukee Police Department’s District Seven Police Station during the Sherman Park rioting in August 2016. According to the complaint, Mayes and others pursued the plan by manufacturing Molotov cocktails in glass bottles that contained gasoline with a fabric wick inserted into the opening. The firebombing of the District Station ultimately did not occur.
"Today’s charges are the result of ongoing efforts to hold accountable those who engaged in criminal conduct during the Sherman Park riots," explained U.S. Attorney Krueger.
"ATF is pursuing multiple investigations related to the 2016 Sherman Park riots," said U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("ATF") Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joel Lee of the St. Paul Field Division. "This particular arrest is related to the attempted firebombing of the Milwaukee Police Department’s seventh District station. We’re hoping this arrest will bring us one step closer in holding individuals responsible for the violence and disorder back in 2016. The citizens and business community of Milwaukee deserve the peace of mind."
ATF led the investigation of this case in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and local law enforcement agencies. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Gregory Haanstad and Christopher Ladwig.
The public is cautioned that a criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
St. Paul Field Division