Arrest made in UC Berkeley arson investigation

UC Berkeley Campanile (Alice Wertz)

Cal Fire identified a suspect in the four recent arson attacks on the UC Berkeley campus and authorities made an arrest Monday, the agency said.

Oakland resident Casey Goonan, 34, was arrested on suspicion of "the firebombing attack of a UC Berkeley Police Department vehicle and three other arson attacks" on campus during June, according to Cal Fire. He is being held at the Alameda County Jail on $1 million bail and faces multiple felony charges, including possession of and use of destructive devices and arson.

The investigation involved the FBI, UC Berkeley Police, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Cal Fire's Office of the State Fire Marshal had been investigating two reported arsons at UC Berkeley after small fires at a construction site and a campus building burned within days of each other.

One fire was at Koshland Hall on the northwest side of campus and was reported to university police on Thursday; another small fire was set at the construction site of the Dwinelle Annex building on Sunday. There were no damages or injuries, according to UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof.  

Mogulof could not confirm if the two incidents are related to posts online from an anonymous pro-Palestine group that declared a "week of action" to protest the development of People's Park and the police treatment of protesters at UC Santa Cruz and UCLA. Cal Fire did not mention any motive associated with Goonan's alleged crimes.   

The individuals posted on Indybay, an independent news service where anyone can publish articles, that they set fire to a campus building, firebombed a university police vehicle and committed arson at a construction site "in broad daylight," among other actions.  

It is unclear if the individuals are students or if they are associated with pro-Palestine groups on campus.  

The California Health and Safety Code outlines that the Cal Fire Office of the State Fire Marshal investigates all arsons or attempted arsons at state institutions, which include public university campuses like UC Berkeley.  

Arsons are also covered under the Clery Act, a federal law that requires universities to report certain violent crimes on or near their campuses as a condition of participating in federal financial aid programs. 


Arson reported outside UC Berkeley building

Arson has been reported on UC Berkeley's campus as of Thursday afternoon, authorities said.