Arson Attempt at Senator's Vermont Office Leads to Arrest

 April 9, 2024

An unsettling incident unfolded at Senator Bernie Sanders' office in Burlington, Vermont, shaking the local community and drawing attention nationwide.

Shant Michael Soghomonian was caught attempting to set fire to Senator Bernie Sanders' office, causing significant damage but thankfully no injuries.

The Vermont office of Senator Bernie Sanders became the scene of a concerning crime early this month. Daily Mail reported that a man was seen on security footage on April 5 dousing the front door with a liquid and igniting it, leaving the building and its occupants in peril.

Thankfully, no staff members were harmed during the incident, though the situation could have easily taken a turn for the worse. The office, located on the third floor of a building at 1 Church Street, was occupied by seven promptly evacuated employees. The incident not only endangered lives but also highlighted the bravery and swift action of first responders who prevented what could have been a more devastating event.

Eric Brimo, a special agent from the ATF, provided a detailed description of the scene.

I observed the sprinkler system had been activated, flooding parts of the lobby, second-floor, and third-floor office building. I walked up the stairwell and entered the third-floor vestibule, where I observed large, dark burn marks on the door to the office and could smell the odor of smoke. I also observed what appeared to be remains of a canister of lighter fluid and a red cap that was lying on the floor near the door.

The investigation leads to the swift arrest of the suspect

Two days following the incident, authorities made a critical arrest at a nearby motel, the Inn at Burlington, where the suspect had been staying for several weeks. Shant Michael Soghomonian, 35, was apprehended without incident, thanks to intelligent investigation work by law enforcement officials. His capture was a testament to the efficiency and determination of our police and investigative bodies.

Thankfully, the building's damage was contained, primarily affecting the office door, though the sprinkler system's activation caused water damage across several floors. This incident serves as a reminder of the unpredictable threats public officials face and the critical importance of maintaining stringent security protocols.

Motel employees Gavin Grady and Nathan Hutchins played a pivotal role in identifying Soghomonian. Their familiarity with the suspect accelerated the investigation's progress, leading to his identification and arrest. This cooperation between the community and law enforcement is crucial in ensuring public safety and bringing those who threaten it to justice.

Eric Brimo stated in court documents that there was substantial evidence backing the allegations against Soghomonian. He asserted there was enough reason to believe that Soghomonian intentionally set fire to the building located at One Church Street. This building was not only used in activities spanning across state lines but also played a role in commerce that affected interstate operations.

A united community and vigilant first responders

The motive behind this attack remains unclear, leaving many to question what could drive an individual to such lengths. Despite the potential risks, Senator Sanders' office and his staff are recovering from the ordeal and are grateful for the unharmed outcome.

Soghomonian now faces federal charges for using fire to damage a building used in interstate and foreign commerce. His court proceedings are eagerly awaited by a community shaken by this event but relieved by its first responders' rapid and effective response.

This incident at Senator Bernie Sanders' office is a stark reminder of the unwavering courage displayed by our emergency services and law enforcement agencies. Their swift action prevented a disaster and showcased their unwavering commitment to protecting our communities.


The attempt to set fire to Senator Bernie Sanders' office by Shant Michael Soghomonian presents a grave reminder of the challenges and dangers public figures face. Despite the significant damage to the office door and subsequent water damage, the swift evacuation of staff members ensured no injuries.

The diligent work by the ATF and local law enforcement led to a rapid arrest, highlighting the effectiveness of our first responders in managing and mitigating crises. As the legal process unfolds, this event underscores the necessity of community vigilance and the invaluable role of first responders in safeguarding public safety.

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