California man pleads guilty to firebombing Planned Parenthood clinic

A California man has pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from the firebombing of a Planned Parenthood facility in Orange County. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A California man has pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from the firebombing of a Planned Parenthood facility in Orange County. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 1 (UPI) -- The third and final defendant accused of firebombing a Costa Mesa Planned Parenthood in 2022 has pleaded guilty, federal prosecutors said, as the 22-year-old man also admitted to conspiring to attack an Orange County electrical substation to ignite a race war and Dodger Stadium last year as it was holding pride celebrations.

Tibet Ergul of Irvine, Calif., pleaded guilty Thursday to one felony count of conspiracy to damage an energy facility and one misdemeanor count of intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility.


He is scheduled for sentencing on May 30 when he faces up to 21 years in prison.

His plea deal was entered just weeks before trial was to begin on March 19 and after his co-defendants, Chance Brannon, 24, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and Xavier Batten, 21, of Brooksville, Fla., pleaded guilty in June and January, respectively. Brannon is to be sentenced on April 15 followed by Batten on May 15.


The trio were accused of firebombing a Planned Parenthood reproductive health facility in the early hours of March 13, 2022. Prosecutors said Batten had advised and directed Brannon, who was an active-duty Marine at the time, in the manufacturing of Molotov cocktails, while Brannon and Ergul were accused of actually throwing one at the clinic.

In the plea agreement, Ergul admits to planning the attack with Brannon over the facility's abortion services with the intent to scare pregnant women against receiving the medical procedure and deter doctors and staff from performing them.

The document states Ergul and Brannon assembled the Molotov cocktail, donned dark masks, hoods and gloves and drove to the Costa Mesa clinic where they threw the lit explosive at its front entrance.

Prosecutors said the resulting damage forced the facility to temporarily close and the postponement of some 30 patient appointments.

Then in the wake of the conservative-leaning Supreme Court's decision to revoke federal abortion protections by overturning Roe vs. Wade in June 2022, Ergul and Brannon planned another Molotov cocktail attack on a second Planned Parenthood clinic, which was averted when they noticed law enforcement near their target.

The pair in March 2023 also conspired to damage a Southern California electrical substation to debilitate Orange County's power grid with firearms and Molotov cocktails in furtherance of their effort to ignite a race war.


They also discussed and researched attacking Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium on the night it was to celebrate LGBTQ pride, Ergul admitted in the plea deal.

They had exchanged so-called sabotage manuals and discussed doing a dry run of the attack, but were arrested two days before the Pride Night was to be held at the stadium.

"This defendant's hateful ideology led him down a dark path of plotting to harm others," U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada of the Central District of California said Thursday in a statement.

"The breadth of his and his co-conspirators' violent plans is chilling. They planned to attack the power grid to start a race war, target Dodger Stadium on Pride Night, and bomb a second reproductive health services clinic. This reminds us of why it is critical that all of us unite against hate in our community."

The announcement comes as there has been a spike in attacks on reproductive health clinics in recent years and rising concerns over domestic terrorism.

Earlier this month, an Illinois man was sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to attempting to burn down a reproductive health clinic on May 2023.

In late January, six people were convicted of blockading a reproductive health clinic in Tennesee in March 2021.


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