'Incendiary devices' used in fire at Atlanta PD training facility, motorcycles destroyed

The mayor and police officials condemned the attack on the building.

July 5, 2023, 7:01 PM

Atlanta officials are searching for suspects who allegedly set off incendiary devices at the current police training facility over the weekend, damaging police vehicles and claiming in a message they have "nothing left to lose."

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens told reporters Wednesday that officers and firefighters responded to a fire at the current police training center on Southside Industrial Parkway around 2:30 a.m. ET Saturday. Eight motorcycles were destroyed, according to the mayor.

"The attack utilized extremely dangerous, homemade incendiary devices," Dickens said during a news conference. "Thankfully, no one was injured."

PHOTO: Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at a news conference, July 5, 2023.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at a news conference, July 5, 2023.

While the investigation is ongoing, Dickens said a group took credit for the attack by issuing a statement that read, "We are vengeful wingnuts with nothing left to lose."

The mayor said the attack on the training center was connected to the increased attacks spurred by protests over the recently approved Atlanta Public Safety Training Center that has been dubbed by critics as "Cop City."

The $90 million training center will take up over 85 acres and have what city and police officials say are "21st-century" training facilities for both police and fire department members. Critics have decried the plans and contended that the city is increasing the militarization of police and taking away green space from the public.

The first phase of the new training center is scheduled to open in late 2023.

Dickens and the police said there were other incidents over the weekend that were related to the issue.

Roughly an hour prior to the arson at the Atlanta Police Training Facility, the Path Force Unit Precinct, which covers the Atlanta BeltLine, was also targeted, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at the news conference.

Multiple windows were broken on police vehicles and officials said they believe the intent was to set them on fire.

A red fusee was found on the scene, which officials said had been used by the suspected group in the past. A citizen interrupted the suspects during the incident, and the fire was never set, according to Schierbaum.

"This attack ... was not only an attack on the men and women of this police department, but it was an attack on every neighborhood that this department protects," Schierbaum said.

PHOTO: 'Incendiary devices' were found at the scene of a July 1 vandalism to the current Atlanta Police Training Academy.
'Incendiary devices' were found at the scene of a July 1 vandalism to the current Atlanta Police Training Academy.
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A $10,000 reward has been offered for anyone with information related to the incidents.

Several protests have taken place since the beginning of the year over "Cop City."

Protester Manuel Esteban Paez Terán was shot and killed by police as they raided the campground occupied by demonstrators in January. Officials say the protester fired the first shot at a state trooper, and the officer responded with the fatal shot.

According to the autopsy sent to ABC News, Teran did not have gunpowder residue on their hands.

The investigation into the death is ongoing.

Dickens said he fully supports people's right to protest the facility peacefully, but he won't tolerate criminal behavior.

"Criminals are hiding in the midst of peaceful protesters," he said. "Some are career arsonists and vandals from across the nation."

ABC News' Kiara Alfonseca contributed to this report.