An 18-year-old Middletown man is facing federal charges after allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at the Planned Parenthood facility in Newark.
The incident happened around 2:15 a.m. Jan. 3 at the facility on East Delaware Avenue, according to Kim Reeves, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wilmington.
Samuel James Gulick, who has a history of anti-abortion social media posts, was captured on surveillance video standing on the front porch of the building and spray-painting “Deus Vult” in red letters, according to court documents.
The Latin phrase means “God wills it.” While it originated during the Crusades, the phrase is often used by the alt-right movement.
Gulick stepped off the porch, removed the Molotov cocktail from a plastic bag, lit it and threw it at the front door of the building, court documents allege. A Molotov cocktail is a crude explosive device usually consisting of a bottle filled with flammable liquid and a means of ignition.
The device exploded, but self-extinguished after one minute, according to court documents. The explosion damaged the front window and porch of the building. An employee called police after noticing the damage the next morning.
Police used surveillance footage and the city of Newark’s automatic license plate readers to identify the getaway vehicle as a maroon Toyota Highlander owned by Gulick’s father, according to court documents.
"Law enforcement also identified Gulick through social media postings attributed to him," Reeves said.
An Instagram account belonging to Gulick contains several anti-abortion memes and the phrase “Deus Vult,” as well as imagery associated with the alt-right movement, court documents indicate.
Gulick was arrested by the FBI on Jan. 4 and charged with maliciously damaging a building used in interstate commerce through the use of fire or destructive device, intentionally damaging a facility that provides reproductive health services, and possession of an unregistered destructive device under the National Firearms Act.
If convicted, he faces a statutory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case is being investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Police Department, University of Delaware Police, Delaware State Police, Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office and New Castle County Police Department.