Heavy, “Willem Van Spronsen aka Emma Durutti: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”

Willem Van Spronsen was an anarchist and anti-fascist from Washington who was fatally shot by police on July 13 while trying to set a fire with incendiary devices during an attack at an ICE detention center in Tacoma. Authorities say Van Spronsen was armed with a rifle and threw “lit objects” at buildings and vehicles in the parking lot of the Northwest Detention Center.

Van Spronsen, a Vashon Island musician, was shot and killed by Tacoma Police officers, the Seattle Times reports. No one else was injured.

Van Spronsen also went by the name Emma Durutti on a now-deleted Facebook profile and on an album titled “the audio manifesto” that was posted to Bandcamp a week before he was killed. While some have said the Emma Durutti name indicated Van Spronsen was trans — and Emma Durutti did post on Facebook in 2018 calling Willem Van Spronsen a dead name — friends of Van Spronsen say he did not identify as trans and used Emma Durutti as a pen name. The nom de plume is a reference to two of Van Spronsen’s inspirations: Emma Goldman, an anarchist activist, and Spanish insurrectionary Buenaventura Durruti.

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