Local News

Fayetteville man, caught on camera, charged for role in Market House fire during protests

Posted June 5, 2020 4:42 p.m. EDT
Updated June 6, 2020 12:43 p.m. EDT

— A Fayetteville man was arrested Friday by special agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and charged for his role in the fire last Saturday night at the city's historic Market House.

Charles Anthony Pittman, 32, was caught on camera "showing a red gasoline container to the crowd below before he poured its contents throughout the floor of the second story," according to the report on his arrest from Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

"Pittman ran out of the Market House as the floor caught on fire with other individuals, including an employee, still inside. As a result of the fire, the Market House sustained charring and mass wood loss to the second story floor," Pittman said in announcing the arrest.

Pittman also used Facebook Live to circle the historic structure, "scoping out the scene," he said, and criticize the generally peaceful nature of the protests before the fire.

If convicted, he would face a minimum of seven years in prison.

The Market House, at the intersection of Hay, Gillespie, Person and Green streets, is a focal point of downtown Fayetteville and on the National Register of Historic Places. It has stood since 1832. It was the site of trade, including of enslaved people, and of a skirmish during the Civil War.