Illinois Man Charged with Malicious Fire at Planned Parenthood Facility

On Wednesday, Tyler W. Massengill, 32, of Chillicothe, Ill., was charged with one count of malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage, and attempt to damage, property used in and affecting interstate commerce. Massengill was taken into custody Tuesday on federal charges in connection with the Jan. 15 fire at the Planned Parenthood Peoria Health Center at 2709 N. Knoxville Ave.

Video footage obtained by authorities showed a man walking up to the building with a laundry detergent-sized bottle, lighting a rag on fire on one end of the bottle, smashing a window with an object, and then placing the container inside the building, quickly leaving the area on foot.[0]

“This senseless act of vandalism has robbed the community of access to birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and gender-affirming care as well as medication abortion services,” Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and CEO Jennifer Welch said in a statement Wednesday.[1]

Massengill could receive a prison sentence of up to 40 years, with a minimum of five years, if found guilty, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.[2] This charge could result in a maximum of three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.[2]

Massengill allegedly informed detectives that it might have been “all worth it” if he had been able to cause “a little delay” to someone accessing services from the facility which does not carry out surgical abortions, though it does dispense medications for abortions.[0]

Massengill, as per the charges, stated that he experienced a “heard or saw something that reminded him of the abortion” on the day he set the fire, causing him to become distressed and break the window of the Planned Parenthood facility before placing a burning container within.[1] He additionally affirmed that afterwards he drove his truck to a female's residence and requested her to paint the doors white.[3]

No one was in the building when the fire occurred, however, a firefighter from Peoria sustained minor injuries while putting out the fire.[4] The fire caused an estimated $150,000 in damages.[5]

On Tuesday, Massengill called Peoria police and said he wanted to talk about the fire at the Planned Parenthood facility.[6] Initially, Massengill denied his involvement in the fire during an interview with law enforcement and the FBI, asserting that he had taken a trip to Peoria on the 15th of January and had allowed two men to use his truck, as indicated in the charges.[3]

0. “Illinois Man Charged With Setting Fire to Planned Parenthood Clinic” The Daily Beast, 26 Jan. 2023,

1. “Peoria Planned Parenthood Arsonist Was Upset Over Exs Abortion: FBI” Patch, 25 Jan. 2023,

2. “Illinois man charged in Planned Parenthood clinic fire” ABC News, 26 Jan. 2023,

3. “Man charged with setting fire at Peoria Planned Parenthood” CBS Chicago, 25 Jan. 2023,

4. “FBI: Peoria Planned Parenthood arson suspect in custody” WSIU, 25 Jan. 2023,

5. “UPDATE: Chillicothe man charged in federal court in connection with Planned Parenthood arson” 25 News Now, 25 Jan. 2023,

6. “Illinois man charged in Planned Parenthood arson” UPI News, 26 Jan. 2023,