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Federal charges for suspect in Ferguson Market arson

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FERGUSON, MO – Federal prosecutors are bringing charges in one of the fires in riots that destroyed businesses after the Michael Brown grand jury decision.

A federal grand jury indicted Antonio Whiteside, 26, charging him with the arson of the Ferguson Market, the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis said.

The market was the scene of a reported strong-armed robbery by Michael Brown shortly before his fatal confrontation with police officer Darren Wilson.

Police from St. Louis County, Ferguson and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives circulated surveillance camera pictures of a suspect wearing a camouflage jacket in connection with the fire.

Whiteside is that suspect, prosecutors allege, according to a U.S. law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. Investigators said he was seen using an accelerant to set fire to the market, the official said. He was arrested in January and the indictment was brought on Wednesday.

The Ferguson Market survived disturbances in August after the Brown shooting, but burned after the grand jury decision was announced in November. It continues to operate.