Orange County, California – December 2, 2023
An Orange County resident has admitted guilt to federal charges related to the firebombing of a Costa Mesa Planned Parenthood clinic in March 2022 and confessed to planning additional attacks, according to authorities.
Chance Brannon, a 24-year-old from San Juan Capistrano who was an active-duty “U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton” during the time of the incident, pleaded guilty on Thursday to four federal charges. The accusations encompass offenses such as the intentional destruction of property through fire and explosives, possession of an unregistered destructive device, willful harm to a reproductive health services facility, and participation in a conspiracy.
Brannon, along with two other suspects, Tibet Ergul, 22, of Irvine, and Xavier Batten, 21, of Brooksville, Fla., were implicated in the 2022 attack. While Brannon entered a guilty plea, the other two defendants have pleaded not guilty and are set to go to trial in March.
According to Brannon’s plea agreement, the trio devised plans in February and March 2022 to use a Molotov cocktail against various targets, including the office of the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego. Ultimately, they chose to target Planned Parenthood in Costa Mesa with the intention of dissuading medical professionals and intimidating pregnant individuals seeking abortions, prosecutors revealed.
On the morning of March 13, 2022, Ergul and Brannon carried out the plan, throwing the incendiary device at the clinic’s front entrance, causing noticeable damage upon explosion.
Following the initial attack, Brannon continued to conspire throughout 2022 and 2023 to identify additional targets, including a second Planned Parenthood clinic and the Dodgers’ LGBTQ+ Pride Night. Additionally, he discussed plans to initiate a “race war” by damaging a utility substation to disrupt Orange County’s power grid, according to the plea agreement.
U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada expressed concern, stating, “This defendant exemplifies the insidious danger posed by domestic extremism.”
Brannon has been in federal custody since his arrest in June. His attorney, Kate Corrigan, remarked in an email, “Chance is a young man who has made mistakes. He’s looking forward to closing out this chapter in his life.”
Brannon is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15, facing a maximum sentence of 51 years in prison for the charges brought against him.