Aurora man admits tossing explosive device at police during 2020 protests in Naperville

The explosion temporarily stunned officers and left several with injuries including “momentary blindness and hearing loss for several minutes,” authorities wrote.

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This image allegedly depicts the explosion caused by the explosive device thrown by Christian Rea in Naperville on June 1, 2020.

This image allegedly depicts the explosion caused by the explosive device thrown by Christian Rea in Naperville on June 1, 2020.

U.S. District Court records

An Aurora man admitted Tuesday that he tossed a lit explosive device toward Naperville police while people were protesting the murder of George Floyd in June 2020, causing injuries to several officers.

Christian Rea pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct law enforcement amid a civil disorder and faces a likely prison sentence of up to a year behind bars, according to his plea agreement. His sentencing is set for March 24.

Rea had been caught on video, records show. Federal authorities quickly identified him as the person who threw the device toward a Naperville Police Department special response team vehicle near Washington Street and Chicago Avenue in the city on June 1, 2020.

A criminal complaint said Naperville police officers were standing nearby at the time of the resulting explosion. It temporarily stunned the officers and left several with “momentary blindness and hearing loss for several minutes,” an FBI special agent wrote in an affidavit.

“Panic ensued in the crowd of protesters as well, with people running in all directions,” the agent wrote.

Investigators used a video posted to Facebook, as well as surveillance video provided by Naperville police and state records to track Rea down, records show.

Rea2.jpeg

Federal authorities say this Facebook photo depicts Christian Rea of Aurora.

U.S. District Court records

Rea’s is among several federal cases to result from the 2020 rioting and looting in the Chicago area. Jacob Fagundo was sentenced to three years of probation after he admitted he set fire to a Chicago police vehicle amid the rioting here in May 2020.

Another man, Timothy O’Donnell, is also charged with setting fire to a CPD vehicle while wearing a Joker mask during the rioting on the same day. He is set to go to trial in February.

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