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Camp Pendleton Marine among two men charged with firebombing Planned Parenthood in Costa Mesa

A sign outside Camp Pendleton.
Denis Poroy
An undated photo of a sign outside Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif.

Two Orange County men — including a U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton — were arrested Wednesday morning on federal charges of firebombing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa last year.

Agents with the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service arrested Tibet Ergul, 21, of Irvine, and Chance Brannon, 23, of San Juan Capistrano, who is an active-duty Marine.

The two were expected to make their initial appearance in federal court in Santa Ana on Wednesday afternoon.


They are accused of hurling a Molotov cocktail at the entrance of the Planned Parenthood at 1520 Nutmeg Place in the early hours of March 13, 2022, according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Jennifer Hirsch. About two hours later, the two returned to the clinic, she added.

The clinic "was forced to close and cancel dozens of appointments," Hirsch said. Clinic employees told investigators about 30 appointments had to be rescheduled.

A day after the attack, Ergul "texted an acquaintance, taking credit for the fire and noting that he wished he 'could've recorded the combustion,'" Hirsch said.

Ergul sent a photograph to an "acquaintance" showing "his gloved hand holding the Molotov cocktail from inside Brannon's car," Hirsch said.

Surveillance video from the clinic shows the two approach the building about 12:55 a.m., Hirsch said. They wore hooded sweatshirts and masks, Hirsch said.


The estimated damage to the building cost about $1,050 to fix, Hirsch said.

In January, the FBI offered a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest of suspects, prompting a call from a witness who called the FBI in April, Hirsch said.

The witness, who was friends with the suspects in high school, said Ergul sent text messages admitting his involvement in the bombing, Hirsch alleged.

According to Hirsch, the text message read, "Boom (fire emoji)" at "1500 Blk nutmeg plaza... Costa Mesa health center/Planned Parenthood clinic."

The FBI agent also said that Ergul was arrested Oct. 21, 2022, in Tempe, Arizona, on suspicion of aggravated assault, unlawful imprisonment and criminal damage after "punching his roommate in the nose and breaking the doorknob so she could not leave their shared apartment."

U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada called the alleged firebombing a "brazen attack" on a clinic that "provides critical health care services to thousands of people in Orange County. While it is fortunate that no one was physically harmed and responders were able to prevent the clinic from being destroyed, the defendants' violent actions are entirely unacceptable."

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