Prophetstown man accused of trying to burn down central Illinois reproductive health clinic

It happened early Saturday, court records show.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 8:45 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

URBANA, Ill. (KWQC) – A Prophetstown, Illinois man is facing a federal charge after police say he drove his vehicle into a reproductive health clinic in an attempt to set the building on fire.

Philip J. Buyno, 73, is charged with attempted arson, punishable by five to 20 years in federal prison.

An initial appearance was set for Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Urbana. Court records show a medical event prevented Buyno from appearing.

A new court date has not yet been set as of Wednesday morning.

According to a federal complaint filed Monday:

Around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, Danville officers responded to an alarm at 600 N. Logan Avenue.

The building was previously an eye clinic and is undergoing renovations to become a reproductive health clinic.

Officers found a maroon 2013 Volkswagen Passat that had crashed into the building.

Buyno was attempting to open the driver’s side door as officers approached the vehicle.

After checking his medical condition, an officer told Buyno to remain seated in the vehicle until firefighters could remove him.

Buyno told an officer that he intentionally crashed the vehicle into the building because he recently learned it was going to be used as an abortion clinic and he wanted to destroy it so that it could not be used for that purpose.

He further said he loaded the vehicle with old tires, firewood, and a can of gasoline and intended to light the vehicle on fire once he was inside the building.

After he was removed from the vehicle, Buyno told the officer he was a member of a “rescue group” whose purpose was to prevent abortion clinics from being established.

In a later interview with police, he said he was active with an anti-abortion movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was arrested numerous times for activities related to his opposition to abortion.

He added he again became active in the movement after he retired four years ago and was arrested in 2019 for trespassing at an abortion clinic in Peoria.

Buyno said after he arrived at the building in Danville early Saturday, he drove over the curb to get around the chains that blocked the entrance.

He crashed the vehicle into the back of the building and then backed it into the front of the building until it got stuck.

Buyno said he was trapped inside the vehicle and said he threw a gas can out of the window so the gas would spill and he could set it on fire. However, the can landed in an upright position.

Buyno further told police, “If I could sneak in with a gas can a match, I’d go in there again.”

He also said is he was released from jail, he would finish the job, according to the complaint.