October 15, 2003
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY TARGET
Contact: Shane Jimerfield, 520.623.5252 ext 302
October 14th, 2003, Tucson, AZ – Yesterday a vehicle belonging to one of the Center for Biological Diversity’s staff members, Shane Jimerfield, was set on fire. The arson took place early Monday morning at the Center’s main office near downtown Tucson. Due to an event which took place just two weeks earlier, on September 30th, at the home of the Center’s Executive Director, Kieran Suckling, the attack was almost certainly politically motivated.
The arson took place around 2:00 am Monday. Under cover of night the arsonist entered the Center’s parking area and set fire to Jimerfield’s Toyota Tundra pickup. Jimerfield and several residents of a near by apartment building were aroused when they heard a loud explosion. “I looked out the window and saw flames reaching high into the sky from across the parking lot, and called 911 immediately,” said Jimerfield.
Tucson police and BATF investigators found an empty gas can amongst the debris in the bed of the pickup. The can did not belong to Jimerfield, and thus points to an arsonist.
Two weeks earlier, late on the evening on the September 30th, an unknown person took mail from home mailbox of Center director Kieran Suckling, doused it in gasoline, and left the mail and an open canister of gasoline in the driveway. No fire was set. Given the arson at the Center office this Monday, the prior incident may have been a warning. Both incidents were reported to the police at the time they were discovered.
Monday’s arson at the Center’s main office combined with the earlier event of two weeks ago at Suckling’s residence indicates a pattern of violence may be developing. The Center has received death threats and threats of violence on repeated occasions. However, this is the first time in over eight years that an act of vandalism has occurred.
“We take all threats toward the Center and its staff very seriously," said Suckling, "We have documented every threat of violence over the last decade. These attacks only strengthen our resolve to protect endangered species and wild places. Any harm we suffer is minor compared to the damage being done to the earth every day."