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Santa Cruz Transient Arrested For Chemical Attack At Social Security Office

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Joseph Anton Loris. (Source: Santa Cruz Police)

Joseph Anton Loris. (Source: Santa Cruz Police)

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SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — A transient man was arrested Tuesday in connection with an attack using a caustic chemical mixture at the U.S. Social Security Administration office in Santa Cruz last week, police said.

Joseph Anton Loris, 70, was arrested around 11 a.m. near the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Third Street in Santa Cruz, police said.

His arrest followed an investigation from the May 13 attack at the Social Security office building at 169 Walnut Ave.

The attacked involved Loris allegedly breaking windows and pouring a caustic chemical mixture of chlorine and ammonia into the building.

Police said exposure to the mixture is potentially lethal.

The building was evacuated and employees exposed to the gas were evaluated by medical personnel, according to police.

Tuesday morning Loris allegedly went on an anti-government rant, but did not confess to committing the crime, police said.

Police used images from video surveillance to identify Loris as the suspect in the case. Investigators worked with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office because the building is a federal office.

Loris was booked at Santa Cruz County Jail on burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and felony vandalism charges, police said.

His previous contact with police has involved traffic violations, police said.

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