'I'm going to burn you': Man who set security station at FBI Chicago facility on fire made previous threats


A man accused of setting a security station on fire at the FBI Chicago Field Office on the Near West Side Friday allegedly made threats against law enforcement at the same location last month.

At about 10:48 a.m. on Oct. 7, James Lofton allegedly approached the security station at the FBI Chicago Field office, located at 2111 W. Roosevelt Rd, while an officer was on duty.

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Lofton allegedly stated, "B****, I'm going to burn you, and everyone is going to die. You f****** Mexicans are going to burn and die."

Lofton then allegedly started pacing near the station.

Multiple agencies responded to the station and began interacting with him, prosecutors said.

An officer at the scene requested identification from Lofton, at which time Lofton produced his Illinois State ID card.

Lofton then requested medical assistance, and an ambulance was called for him.

He left in the ambulance without further incident — until Nov. 4.


At about 3:02 p.m. Nov. 4, surveillance video footage from cameras installed at the station allegedly shows Lofton approaching the exterior wall of the station carrying a clear or whitish plastic jug containing an unknown liquid, prosecutors said.


At that time, the same officer from the Oct. 7 incident and four civilian witnesses were walking near the station when Lofton allegedly approached.

The officer recognized Lofton from the Oct. 7 incident.

As he approached the station, video shows Lofton allegedly taking off his black jacket and hanging it on the station's exterior emergency call box — making an effort to secure it close to the station's glass security window, prosecutors said.

Lofton then allegedly poured a clear liquid out of the clear plastic jug and onto his jacket.

According to prosecutors, Lofton appears to remove a small object from his pants pocket and touches his jacket.

The jacket immediately erupts in flames, and the station catches on fire.

The officer was inside the station at the time of the fire.

Additional video footage shows Lofton allegedly walking away from the station at about 3:03 p.m., and heading east down Roosevelt Road.


Law enforcement agents then disseminated information about the incident and Lofton's description over dispatch.

The officer in the station relayed information about the incident to FBI Task Force Officers who began canvassing the area for Lofton.

At about 3:16 p.m., the task force officers apprehended Lofton near 1901 W. Roosevelt Ave. — which was about one-third of a mile east of the FBI Chicago Field Office.

During the arrest, officers found a lighter on the ground near the location where Lofton was apprehended, prosecutors said.

Lofton's ID was also recovered during the arrest.

Lofton was transported back to the FBI Chicago Field Office in the task force officers' vehicle at about 3:19 p.m.

The officer who had asked for Lofton's ID during the Oct. 7 incident approached the vehicle where Lofton was detained, and said he recognized him from the previous incident, prosecutors said.

Lofton refused to make any statements to the officers.

The four witnesses who were also near the station on Nov. 7 provided physical descriptions of the person who set the fire, and described a plastic jug that they saw him carrying.

Prosecutors said the descriptions matched Lofton's.