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Orange County Marine and another man arrested for a Planned Parenthood firebombing

Two Orange County men were arrested on federal charges Wednesday for the firebombing of an Orange County Planned Parenthood Clinic just over a year ago.

In the early morning hours of March 13, 2022, recovered surveillance footage shows two masked and hooded men throwing a Molotov cocktail at the door of a Costa Mesa Planned Parenthood health center.

Tibet Ergul, 21, of Irvine, and Chance Brannon, 23, of San Juan Capistrano, an active duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, were arrested Wednesday morning in connection to the bombing.

"My office takes very seriously this brazen attack that targeted a facility that provides critical health care services to thousands of people in Orange County," said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. "While it is fortunate that no one was physically harmed and responders were able to prevent the clinic from being destroyed, the defendants' violent actions are entirely unacceptable."

As a result of the March 13 firebombing, the clinic was forced to close the following morning and cancel approximately 30 appointments.

Security videos described in the affidavit show that two men wearing hooded sweatshirts and face masks approached the Planned Parenthood facility around 1 a.m. the day of the attack, ignited a device, and threw the flaming device at the front door of the building. "The device landed against a southern wall next to the glass door and erupted into a fire, which spread up the wall and across the ceiling above the glass door," according to the complaint.

The Costa Mesa Police Department and Fire Department responded to the scene and extinguished the fire. An analysis of evidence collected at the scene showed that the glass container and other materials contained gasoline.

According to FBI Special Agent Jennifer Hirsch, a day after the attack, Ergul "texted an acquaintance, taking credit for the fire and noting that he wished he `could've recorded the combustion,"' she said.

Ergul sent a photograph to an "acquaintance" showing "his gloved hand holding the Molotov cocktail from inside Brannon's car," Hirsch said. 

In January, the FBI offered a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest of suspects, prompting a call from a witness who called the FBI in April, Hirsch said.

The witness, who was friends with the suspects in high school, said Ergul sent text messages admitting his involvement in the bombing. According to Hirsch, the text message read, "Boom (fire emoji)" at "1500 Blk nutmeg plaza... Costa Mesa health center/Planned Parenthood clinic." 

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