PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Fire Department leaders are reflecting on the multi-agency federal investigation into the Planned Parenthood Peoria Health Center arson in January.
Tyler Massengill, 32, of Chillicothe pleaded guilty in federal court on Feb. 17. He was arrested on January 24, just nine days after the January 15 arson.
“Because of the nature of this building, the fact that it was a Planned Parenthood building, we knew there would be some federal action that needed to be taken…We were able to tap into those federal resources. Having those federal resources jump into the investigation and become part of this particular instance, was very helpful. It really put a lot of resources into this particular incident,” said Nate Rice, division chief of investigations at Peoria Fire Department.
Rice said the Peoria Fire Department worked hand-in-hand with the Peoria Police Department and the Department of Justice to investigate the arson. The federal agencies involved were the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
In particular, Rice said the ATF was essential to solving the investigation.
“They are very instrumental in high-level fire investigation cases. When it comes to the federal side of things, when we need resources that might go a little bit higher or beyond local resources, they are a very good resource we can tap into,” he said.
Massengill pleaded guilty to malicious use of fire and explosive to damage, and the attempt to damage, the Peoria Health Center, a building uses in interstate commerce. In court filings, he said if his actions caused service delays for even one person, then it was “all worth it.”
Massengill will be sentenced on July 6.