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Former UW-Madison Research Assistant Accused of Firebombing Anti Abortion Group

Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, of Madison, Wisconsin, who is a former UW-Madison graduate trainee and research assistant, is charged with one count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive for the firebombing of a Wisconsin anti-abortion group, Wisconsin Family Action, after DNA on a discarded half-eaten burrito led investigators to him, according to federal authorities.

The site Antifa Watch wrote on Twitter that archived Twitter posts allegedly show the suspect making comments like, “I hope to see 10,000 hanging pigs. I hope to see this country burn” and proclaiming that he was an “anarchist.” At the time, he was still affiliated with UW-Madison.

Court documents indicate that police also believe he was also responsible for graffiti at the Capitol that read, “We will get revenge.”

Roychowdhury was arrested in Boston on March 28, 2023. The firebombing occurred on May 6, 2022, at the Wisconsin Family Action office in Madison, Wisconsin.

Roychowdhury’s Facebook page still says he is a “Graduate Research Assistant at University of Wisconsin-Madison” and “Former Research assistant at New Mexico State University.” His LinkedIn page, though, says he attended UW-Madison to get a degree in biochemistry from 2016 to 2020. He is now working as a protein engineer, according to a second LinkedIn page.

Most of the media censored his past UW-Madison ties.


He was listed the morning of March 28, 2023, on the UW-Madison website as a trainee/research assistant. We contacted UW-Madison to inquire whether Roychowdhury is still affiliated with the university in any way and whether he was a staff member or student at the time of the attack, and we did not hear back.

However, Republican state Rep. Barbara Dittrich wrote on Facebook that UW-Madison officials told her office Roychowdhury was affiliated with UW-Madison through 2022.

“University of Wisconsin-Madison campus notified us after this post that Mr. Roychowdhury ended his affiliation with the UW System the year that this incident occurred,” Dittrich wrote. “I am glad to hear that the taxpayers will not be on the hook paying this individual’s salary until a verdict is reached. This kind of behavior is never acceptable. I am deeply concerned that a UW employee has been arrested as the suspected bomber of Wisconsin Family Action.This man should be charged with domestic terrorism, and the good taxpayers of this state should not be paying his salary.”

In October 2021, the UW-Madison web site touted a seminar by Roychowdhury titled, “High-throughput enzymatics for engineering glycosidases and comparing caspases.”

“According to the complaint, Mr. Roychowdhury used an incendiary device in violation of federal law in connection with his efforts to terrorize and intimidate a private organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “I commend the commitment and professionalism of law enforcement personnel who worked exhaustively to ensure that justice is served.”

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He is a 2020 campaign donor to ActBlue.

Authorities say they saw similarities between the writing style on the Wisconsin Family Action building and in graffiti at the state Capitol. While trying to identify the Capitol suspects, they found a pickup truck that Roychowdhury used to park in a ramp. They later tracked Roychowdhury in the vehicle to a park-and-ride, where they saw him throw away a fast-food bag containing the burrito.

“Violence is never an acceptable way for anyone to express their views or their disagreement,” said Assistant Director Robert R. Wells of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “Today’s arrest demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to vigorously pursue those responsible for this dangerous attack and others across the country, and to hold them accountable for their criminal actions.”

According to the complaint, on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8, 2022, at approximately 6:06 a.m., law enforcement responded “to an active fire at an office building located in Madison, Wisconsin.”

Once inside the building, police “observed a mason jar under a broken window; the jar was broken, and the lid and screw top were burned black.”

The police “also saw a purple disposable lighter near the mason jar. On the opposite wall from the window, the police saw another mason jar with the lid on and a blue cloth tucked into the top; the cloth was singed. The jar was about half full of a clear fluid that smelled like an accelerant,” the news release said.

“Outside of the building, someone spray painted on one wall, ‘If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either’ and, on another wall, a large ‘A’ with a circle around it and the number ‘1312.’ During the investigation, law enforcement collected DNA from the scene of the attack,” according to release.

In March 2023, law enforcement “identified Roychowdhury as a possible suspect. Local police officers observed Roychowdhury dispose of food in a public trash can; the officers recovered the leftover food and related items, and law enforcement collected DNA from the food.”

On March 17, 2023, law enforcement “advised that a forensic biologist examined the DNA evidence recovered from the attack scene and compared it to the DNA collected from the food contents. The forensic biologist found the two samples matched and likely were the same individual.”

In March 2023, Roychowdhury “traveled from Madison, Wisconsin, to Portland, Maine, and he purchased a one-way ticket from Boston to Guatemala City, departing this morning. Law enforcement arrested Roychowdhury at Boston Logan International Airport. Roychowdhury will have a detention hearing in Boston,” the release said.

If convicted, Roychowdhury faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Court documents show authorities had DNA from three different individuals.

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