Skip to main content

DPS Identifies Persons of Interest in Mansion Fire

More than two years after an arsonist torched the Governor's Mansion, the Department of Public Safety still hasn't made any arrests, but investigators say they have identified persons of interest in the case.

The iconic Texas Governor's Mansion was nearly demolished by fire in June 2008 after an arsonist hurled a Molotov cocktail a…

More than two years after an arsonist torched the Governor's Mansion, the Department of Public Safety still hasn't made any arrests, but investigators say they have identified persons of interest in the case, including people with links to an anarchist group connected to attack threats made against the Republican National Party in 2008.

The department released a video of a man throwing a Molotov cocktail at the mansion on June 8, 2008, along with sketches, and they are offering a $50,000 reward for anyone who turns him in.

Chief Tony Leal, assistant director of the Texas Rangers, said investigators estimate the man to be 5-feet-10-inches tall and anywhere from 175-185 pounds. “We want the public to look closely at this person who is running. The reason we want to do that is if someone can recognize his gait or mannerisms,” Leal said. 

The department has also identified three other persons of interest in the case, who were spotted just days before the fire driving by the Mansion in the early morning hours and taking photos from inside a white Jeep Cherokee. Investigators tracked down the Jeep and its owner, who identified two other people in the vehicle with him. All three denied involvement in the fire.

But DPS investigators say at least one of the persons of interest was in downtown Austin on the morning of the fire. And they have connected the persons of interest to an Austin-based anarchist group. That group, in turn, is linked to an attack involving Molotov cocktails that was planned for the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in September 2008.

The DPS video and sketches are available on the department's website.

The Texas Tribune Member Drive Fall 2021 banner

Support public-service journalism that’s always free to read.

Yes, I'll donate today