Riot Investigation. The search for instigators continues
A week-and-a-half after rioters rampaged through downtown Reno breaking windows, setting fires, and looting, some who were arrested that night now face charges, but the search for others continues.
It began, as we all know by now, with a peaceful protest in the downtown plaza.
"People were out there protesting their right of free speech and in the last 15 minute you saw three separate groups break off and become very antagonistic toward law enforcement and city government in particular," says Lt. Corey Solferino of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office research and development unit.
Arrests were made that night, 23 of them initially. Others have followed, but Solferino says the search isn't over.
"The fire that was started inside city hall, we're trying to identify the arsonists there. We're actively working these cases and with the public's support we're confident we'll be able to identify all the players and hopefully bring them into custody," he said.
Solferino heads the Northern Nevada Regional Intelligence Center. Located in a secure area at the Sheriff's office on Parr Boulevard, it was created for just this purpose, to gather and analyze information from a variety of sources for all local agencies.
It had people on the ground even as the violence started and the job of identifying those responsible hasn't stopped. Input from the public has been a big part of that effort.
"If they see something or hear something if they bring that to our attention we can investigate through proper methods and find it to be factual or unfactual we can plan accordingly. The public is truly our eyes and ears out there."
As the work continues investigators learn more about those who turned a peaceful gathering into the riot. Although there have been reports of outside instigators elsewhere, this riot appears to have been home-grown.
"It's not to say they weren't there, but the ones we've identified as major instigators and have in custody a majority are local offenders, not necessarily affiliated with any particular group, but opportunistic,” he said. “And what's interesting about that is you see several groups organizing independently according to their own agenda."
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