Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, a 29-year-old resident of Madison, Wisconsin, has entered a guilty plea for his involvement in the firebombing of a Madison office building in May 2022. Roychowdhury, an Indian American, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive.
Roychowdhury now faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin said in a press release. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 14, 2024.
The incident, which occurred on May 8, 2022, prompted law enforcement response to an active fire at an office building in Madison. Upon investigation, police discovered a broken mason jar under a shattered window, burnt lid and screw top, and a purple disposable lighter nearby. Another mason jar with a singed blue cloth, containing a clear fluid smelling like an accelerant, was found on the opposite wall. Outside the building, spray-painted messages included, “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” and a large “A” with a circle around it and the number “1312.”
Law enforcement collected DNA evidence from the scene, initiating a meticulous investigation. In March 2023, Roychowdhury emerged as a suspect after local police observed him discarding food, which was later found to match DNA collected from the crime scene. The suspect, identified as Roychowdhury, then attempted to flee to Guatemala, leading to his arrest at Boston Logan International Airport on March 28, 2023.
Indian American man charged with firebombing Wisconsin building (April 3, 2023)
U.S. Attorney Timothy M. O’Shea expressed gratitude to law enforcement for their dedication, emphasizing the importance of resolving conflicting views through discussion, courts, and the ballot box in a healthy democracy. ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley Engelbert commended the teamwork in a complicated investigation and emphasized the closure this guilty plea brings to the victims. Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Hensle of the FBI Milwaukee Field Office stated that the firebombing was an unacceptable attack on the safety and constitutional rights of Wisconsin citizens, warning that acts of violence will be met with accountability.
The case resulted from a collaborative effort by various law enforcement agencies, including the Madison Police Department, ATF, FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and others.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman and Trial Attorney Justin Sher are prosecuting the case, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Beck handling the defendant’s appearance in Boston following his arrest.