Was ‘Suspicious’ Fire at Fletcher and Gonzalez Home an Act of Domestic Terrorism?

by on January 14, 2022 · 3 comments

in San Diego

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, the front exterior of the City Heights home of San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and former Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez home was engulfed in flames. Fletcher and Gonzalez were awoken by their smoke alarms after 4 am, and were able to safely evacuate with their family. No one was injured.

San Diego police officials said investigators believe the fire was suspicious due in part to the early hours of the blaze and that it began on the outside of the home. The Metro Arson Strike Team — comprised of police and fire investigators — is handling the investigation. A few hours after the incident, a police spokesman released a statement that contained few additional details but confirmed that the fire was “being treated as suspicious in nature.”

The fire, which was contained to the front of the home, caused about $30,000 damage to the house and another $6,000 in damage to a vehicle parked in front of the home, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesperson said.

Without any new updates or information from the police or San Diego news media by Friday morning, speculation circulated about the nature of the blaze. Was it some kind of mechanical or electrical failure at the front of the house? Was it arson? Indeed, was it an act of domestic terrorism?

Both Fletcher and Gonzalez, of course, have had very prominent political careers as of late. Both are Democrats and both have taken what some may see as “controversial” stances. Fletcher, the chair of the County Board of Supervisors, has become the public face of the county’s policies on COVID and has been subjected to yelling and threats at Board meetings. In November, Fletcher was one of three of the supervisors threatened during one speaker’s rants.

Gonzales, just recently resigned from the State Assembly, has taken strong positions on labor rights and was instrumental in passing a 2019 law that revised independent contractor rules. Both have spoken publicly about receiving death threats.

Rachel Locke, director of Impact: Peace at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at University of San Diego told the U-T that threats and attacks against elected officials, even election workers, have been on the rise. Locke said:

“If it were an attack, it would really not surprise me, given the state of what we are seeing locally, globally and nationally.”

This reporter attempted to get an update on the incident this morning from the San Diego Police of from the city’s press office but to no avail.

We cannot ignore the possibility that this was arson. If it had been mechanical or electrical, it seems like we would have heard about it and Fletcher and Gonzalez would have said something about it to allay the public and their supporters’ fears.

So, if it was arson — that means it was an attack against elected officials — and given the state of polarization, the rise of far-right attacks on politicians, and threats against the dynamic politico duo — this rises to the level of domestic terrorism. Are the FBI involved? They now have a whole new department dedicated to domestic terrorists.

The San Diego public needs to know what happened. We need to know just what is afoot.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie January 15, 2022 at 9:02 am

I checked this morning (Sat.) and there is nothing new about this in the local press. Wow. Potentially arson and an act of domestic terrorism against well-know progressive politicians and after 4 days, we still don’t know what exactly happened.


Frank Gormlie January 15, 2022 at 9:05 am

When on Friday I called for an update at the SDPD office supposedly handling the incident, I was told in the morning that the media person doesn’t come in until 2:30 pm; I called back at 2:45 and got a recording. I left a message – and still have not heard anything back.


Chris January 16, 2022 at 10:07 am

The scary thing is, there are people actually hoping and cheering for the possibility this was arson. Not a good time to be a progressive leaning public official.


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