Will van Spronsen, Strawberry Festival 2012/ YouTube/ Brian Hildebrand

Source: Audrey Conklin

A number of Twitter users are calling the man who attacked an immigration detention facility in Tacoma, Washington, a “hero” and “martyr.”

Willem Van Spronsen died Saturday morning after a shootout with police when he arrived at the Northwest Detention Center and attempted to set buildings on fire, authorities said, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.

The Tacoma Police Department responded to a call around 4 a.m. when Van Spronsen, armed with a rifle and flares, started throwing incendiary devices toward a propane tank in an effort to set fire to the facility and managed to ignite a car, the department said, according to The Seattle Times.

Deb Bartley, a friend of Van Spronsen, told the Times that he identified as an anarchist and anti-fascist (Antifa), and she believes his intent in attacking the center was to provoke a conflict.

“He was ready to end it,” Bartley said. “I think this was a suicide. But then he was able to kind of do it in a way that spoke to his political beliefs . I know he went down there knowing he was going to die.”

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