Former Marine sentenced for firebombing Planned Parenthood clinic

by Tommy Grant

A federal judge has sentenced a former Marine to nine years in prison for the 2022 firebombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic, which was carried out while he was on active duty.

Chance Brannon, 24, of San Juan Capistrano, California, was stationed at Camp Pendleton at the time of the firebombing, according to a justice department release. He has been in federal custody since his arrest in June 2023. In addition to the attack on the clinic, Brannon plotted attacks on a power grid, Dodger Stadium and home invasions of Jewish residences in Los Angeles.

Brannon pleaded guilty in November 2023 to one count of conspiracy, one count of malicious destruction of property by fire and explosives, one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device and one count of intentionally damaging a reproductive health services facility in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

“Brannon’s deep-rooted hatred and extremist views inspired him to target individuals or groups who did not conform to his neo-Nazi worldview and, in one case, led him to carry out a violent attack which could have killed innocent people,” said Acting Assistant Director in Charge Mehtab Syed of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office.

FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents arrested Brannon and Tibet Ergul, of Irvine, in June 2023 for his part in the conspiracy and clinic attack. A third co-defendant, Xavier Batten, of Brooksville, Florida. Batten and Ergul also pleaded guilty to charges connected to the clinic attack and other plans. Both are scheduled for sentencing in May.

Clinic security video recorded images of two people in hooded sweatshirts and face masks approaching the building and hurling a Molotov cocktail at the front of the Costa Mesa clinic at around 1 a.m. March 13, 2022, according to court documents.

The fire spread up a wall and across the ceiling above the clinic’s entrance but responding firefighters prevented it from spreading further.

Two months later, in May 2022, Brannon tutored Batten on how to “get away with” a similar attack. Batten was also involved in planning for other attacks.

“This is a glorious victory,” Brannon told an unnamed individual following the attack in text messsages, according to court documents. “But now more than ever we must pray and act because women who were indecisive before may decide to get one before the Court rules / Hail Christ 88.”

The term “88″ is coded language for “Heil Hitler,” according to court documents.

On numerous occasions, Brannon made remarks to friends and fellow Marines condoning violence and rape against women.

“One Marine recalled [Brannon] making comments about killing women who had abortions, observing that [Brannon] did not laugh when making those comments,” according to court documents.

Agents interviewed fellow Marines who said that Brannon would say things like, “All jews deserve to die;” “Jews control show business;” “Hitler didn’t finish the job;” and Jews “manipulate the Black community.”

Marine colleagues and supervisors described Brannon as “lazy,” “aloof,” and “disinterested in working the mission.”

Shortly before his arrest, Brannon told a friend “During the last year of my contract I was on the verge of, like, actively sabotaging operations as much as possible,” according to court documents.

Following the June 2022 Supreme Court decision that overturned the Roe v. Wade case, which recognized a constitutional right to abortion, Brannon and Ergul planned a second attack on another Planned Parenthood clinic, but didn’t go through with it when they saw police near that clinic, according to court documents.

Throughout 2022 Brannon and Ergul discussed igniting a race war by attacking an electrical substation in Orange County. On a thumb drive that was disguised as a military-style necklace with the motto of the Marine Corps, Brannon kept a file with an operation plan and a gear list for targeting the substation.

Brannon owned several items on the list, including a rifle with the “Total [N-word] Death” written in Cyrillic and a recording of the 2019 mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand in which a white supremacist murdered 51 people and injured 40 others, according to court documents.

In early summer 2023, before their arrests, Brannon and Ergul researched how to attack Dodger Stadium on a night that the facility was celebrating LGBTQI+ pride, including using a remotely detonated device.

Agents arrested the pair two days before the event.

In the days leading up to his arrest, Brannon began planning with an unnamed individual to rob Jewish residents of the Hollywood Hills. When arrested Brannon possessed a short-barreled rifle with two suppressors that were not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Brannon had also called two foreign adversaries, not named in court documents, in the hopes he could offer himself as a “mole” to provide them with U.S. intelligence.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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