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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont
Nikolas Kerest, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Sunday, April 7, 2024

Suspect Arrested in Arson at Burlington Office of Senator Sanders

Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont stated that Shant Soghomonian (also known as Michael Soghomonian), 35, previously of Northridge, California was arrested on April 7, 2024, pursuant to a federal criminal complaint charging him with using fire to damage the building at One Church Street in Burlington, Vermont – a building used in interstate commerce and as a place of activity affecting interstate commerce. An initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle has not yet been scheduled.

According to court records, Soghomonian entered the building at One Church Street in Burlington on the morning of April 5, 2024, and proceeded to the third floor where the Vermont office of Senator Sanders is located. Soghomonian was recorded on a security video spraying a liquid near the outer door of the office and then lighting the area with a handheld lighter. A blaze quickly began while Soghomonian departed via a staircase. The resulting fire damaged the outside of the office door and surrounding areas, and the building sprinklers discharged on multiple floors. The Senator’s office was occupied by multiple employees who were not physically injured during the incident. It is not known how many other occupants were in the building, but no injuries were reported.

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the complaint are merely accusations, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty. If convicted, Soghomonian faces a maximum possible penalty of not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence, however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines and sentencing factors in the United States Code.

U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the joint investigatory efforts of the Burlington Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Shelburne Police Department; the Williston Police Department; the Vermont State Police; and the U.S. Capitol Police.

The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Lasher. Counsel for Soghomonian has not yet been identified.


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