Update 1:15 p.m. Thursday, May 25, 2023
The Office of the Texas Attorney General said the individual seen on video starting the fire on Wednesday night has been arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The arsonist is reported to be a 42-year-old female, who will be charged with criminal mischief and subject to a fine ranging from about $25,000 to less than $30,000, according to the office.
In response to the incident, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement:
“The Texas Department of Public Safety has arrested and charged the individual seen on video starting a fire Wednesday night at the Office of the Attorney General. The 42-year-old woman was seen discarding what appears to be a lit cigarette into a waste receptacle behind the building. DPS questioned the suspect over possible political motivations for this crime and have preliminarily determined the fire was unintentional.
“I strongly condemn the irresponsible and reckless speculation by journalists and public figures who misled the public about the nature of this crime. The employees who work in this building could have been injured or killed if this fire had not been detected early and extinguished. I have no doubt that those with a responsibility for informing the public of the truth will issue retractions and apologize for spreading disinformation about this incident.”
Officials at the Office of the Texas Attorney General are on the lookout for any tips or information to identify a person of interest who allegedly set fire to a dumpster Wednesday evening outside of their office.
In a tweet, Scott Braddock, a journalist with the Quorum Report and political analyst, shared the possible contents inside which include paper and “maybe some documents.”
According to the attorney general’s office, the person of interest is shown in security camera videos – wearing a white jacket and some type of head covering.
Lots of paper, maybe some documents on fire in the dumpster outside the Texas Attorney General's office #txlege pic.twitter.com/EJRmjEuITR— Scott Braddock (@scottbraddock) May 25, 2023
There is a second individual in the videos, who was accompanying the person of interest.
The office asked for anyone with information about the incident to call the Austin Fire Department.
This comes on the heels of testimony heard at a Texas House General Investigating Committee meeting on Wednesday morning where committee members heard testimony from an investigation into Attorney General Ken Paxton initially launched in early March.
The investigation started after an initial inquiry on the payout of the $3.3. Million whistleblowers lawsuit.
Investigators providing detailed information said Paxton abused his position to share federal documents and engaged in other alleged illicit actions including hiring outside legal counsel and misspending office funds.
The probe into these alleged actions could result in Paxton facing possible censure or impeachment.
This story will be updated as it develops.