Man pleads guilty to plot against Dodgers LGBT pride night, Planned Parenthood firebombing


A California man has pleaded guilty to a firebombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic and admitted to plotting an attack on an LGBT pride-themed event at Dodger Stadium.

Tibet Ergul, a 22-year-old resident of Irvine, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility and also one felony count of conspiracy to damage an energy facility, as he had also planned to attack an electrical substation.

Ergul is scheduled to be sentenced on May 30 for his crimes and could face as much as 21 years in prison, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday.

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According to prosecutors, Ergul and another individual, 24-year-old Chance Brannon of San Juan Capistrano, California, attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa on March 13, 2022, with Molotov cocktails, causing enough damage to close the clinic temporarily.

Additionally, last year, Ergul and Brannon planned an attack on Dodger Stadium in response to the sports venue hosting an LGBT pride night event, but they were arrested two days before the event occurred. Authorities say Ergul admitted in a plea agreement that he and Brannon "discussed and researched how to attack the Dodger Stadium parking lot or the stadium’s electrical room on a night celebrating LGBTQI+ pride, including by using a device that could be detonated remotely."

They also allegedly exchanged sabotage manuals and discussed doing “dry runs” to “case” the stadium.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigated the case, with the Costa Mesa Police Department and the Costa Mesa Fire Department providing assistance.

A former active-duty U.S. Marine who was stationed at Camp Pendleton at the time of his crimes, Brannon pleaded guilty to his involvement in the attacks last November.

Specifically, Brannon pleaded guilty to conspiracy, malicious destruction of property by fire and explosives, possession of a destructive device that was unregistered, and intentional damage to a facility offering reproductive health services.

"This defendant exemplifies the insidious danger posed by domestic extremism," said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada in a statement last year.

"The defendant, who was a member of the U.S. military, admitted not only to attacking a Planned Parenthood facility but also to planning for attacks on the power grid and a pride celebration at Dodger Stadium. We must never waver in our commitment to protect the American people from violent extremist ideology."

A third individual, 21-year-old Xavier Batten of Brooksville, Florida, pleaded guilty in January to one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device and one count of intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility for his involvement in Ergul and Brannon's activities.

Last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers garnered controversy by inviting a drag troupe known for expressing anti-Catholic sentiments to its annual pride night event in June. After initially disinviting and then reinviting the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Dodgers ultimately honored the group at the event. A $1 million ad campaign from CatholicVote criticized the Dodgers' promotion of the group. 

CatholicVote President Brian Burch sent a letter to Dodgers Principal Owner Mark Walter and team President and CEO Stan Kasten, denouncing their decision to include the LGBT group.

"There is no place for anti-Catholic bigotry, mocking of religious sisters, or celebrating a perverse activist group whose identity is marked by blasphemy and mockery of Catholics," Burch wrote at the time.

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