Authorities recommend felony arson charge against man suspected of setting Aurora courthouse on fire last summer


AURORA | Arapahoe County prosecutors last week accused a 19-year-old Denver man of felony arson and other charges for his suspected role in a chaotic gathering at the Aurora municipal complex last summer.

Court records show that Aurora police filed an affidavit seeking an arrest warrant for Jordan Joseph White of Denver in early January. Aurora Detective David Gallegos recommended charging White with felony counts of arson, inciting a riot and criminal mischief, and a pair of misdemeanor accusations for engaging in a riot and disobedience of public orders.

Police believe White and several others ignited fireworks and other incendiary devices into the Aurora Municipal Courthouse, sparking a small fire inside, the evening of July 25, 2020. In total, the courthouse as well as lights and signage beside the building’s eastern facade sustained nearly $75,000 in damage, according to city documents. City officials previously estimated the area incurred as much as $300,000 in damages.

Gallegos and other Aurora authorities levied their accusations against White in a 25-page arrest affidavit that heavily relied on video footage and testimony from a “confidential informant” who identified White after he was arrested near the state Capitol in Denver during another protest on Aug. 22. After initially running from police, he was tackled, arrested and charged with criminal mischief, according to court records.

The informant, who detectives indicated works with multiple law enforcement agencies across the region, said they recognized White as the suspected Aurora arsonist after seeing his face on a news report in late August.

Gallegos wrote that the unnamed informant has faced several felony convictions and spent time in state prison, though the person has never faced accusations of deceit or fraud and is therefore trustworthy.

“The utilization of the confidential informant has led to the recovery of evidence and significant arrests,” Gallegos wrote. “The confidential informant is considered credible at this time.”

The tipster presented detectives with videos that appeared to show White dismantling wooden boards attached to the side of the courthouse and using them to smash multiple windows, according to the arrest document. Those videos and others then reportedly show White and others launching fireworks and Molotov cocktails into the structure. Four Aurora employees were inside the building at the time.

The informer told police he did not know White’s legal name, but recognized him after seeing his distinctive red hair on news reports. He previously only knew White as the moniker “Joker.”

“The confidential informant used the named ‘Joker,’ which was based on the male’s purple and red hair,” authorities wrote.

Police also pinned White and others to a march along Interstate 225 earlier in the day after referencing YouTube videos uploaded by 44-year-old Brian Loma, who has used the handle “Cut The Plastic.”

White joins several people who have been charged with felonies in connection with gatherings held to protest the death of Elijah McClain last summer. A pair of leaders from the local chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation face dozens of felony charges in both Arapahoe and Adams Counties in connection with multiple demonstrations, including one that cordoned off access to a local police substation.

Activists have repeatedly implored prosecutors to drop the charges against the PSL figureheads, as well as several others who face less serious accusations. Groups have also made repeated calls for authorities to dismiss attempted murder charges against a Wheat Ridge man who fired into a throng of protesters as the driver of a teal Jeep tore through the crowd the afternoon of July 25, injuring two people.

Arapahoe County prosecutors in September said they would not press charges against the driver of the Jeep.

Records show White was arrested on Feb. 25, nearly three months after Aurora authorities wrote and notarized the statement seeking his detention. He made his first court appearance the following day and posted a $15,000 bond on Feb. 27.

White is set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on April 13. He’s been assigned a public defender as counsel.

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1 month ago

I am sure City Council will support this criminal and his Crime

Karl Wildforster
Karl Wildforster
1 month ago

If it happened after hours it’s not terrorism per AG Garland.

1 month ago

There is no honor among thieves. Maybe they’ll think about that next time.