SANTA MONICA—On Wednesday, April 6, Micah Tillmon, 19, of West Hills, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for unauthorized entry of a building and, starting the fire inside Sake House by Hikari Japanese restaurant located at 401 Santa Monica Boulevard on May 31, 2020.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Santa Monica Police Department investigated the case. According to a press release by the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California, security footage at the restaurant recorded the scene.

“Tillmon was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint filed on June 25 and unsealed after his arrest. The complaint charges Tillmon with one count of arson, a felony offense that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years,” reads a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice from July 2020.

Video revealed the suspect removing a red tube-shaped object from his jacket, which he placed behind the reception desk area of the restaurant before walking away. Within seconds of that action, smoke and fire occurred.

The Santa Monica Fire Department responded extinguished the flames using several fire trucks and personnel.

Due to safety concerns that accompanied the city’s civil unrest, SMFD prematurely abandoned the scene and returned to the scene several times throughout the night to extinguish additional flare-ups. The restaurant has closed.

Court documents revealed the SMPD viewed security videos and social media posts. They were able to identify Tillmon to the fire when investigators uncovered a video showing his white Ford Explorer parking next to the Sake House four minutes before the fire started

Reports indicate that the suspect was in possession of an incendiary device that had not been registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, the central federal registry for all items regulated under the National Firearms Act.

“Riots like the ones that convulsed this district in the summer of 2020 are a stark reminder of the thin line that separates state control and anarchy,” noted prosecutors in the sentencing memorandum.