Gary Nathaniel Moore, 37, has been arrested in suspicion of arson at a Houston, TX mosque on Christmas Day.
Moore had reportedly attended the mosque for more than five years and prayed there multiple times a day.
Moore told investigators he had been at the mosque earlier on Dec. 25 to pray, and had left at about 2 p.m. to go home. Moore told investigators he was the last person to leave the mosque and saw no smoke or other signs of fire when he left. He had returned to the scene after hearing about the fire from a friend. Using surveillance video from multiple businesses nearby, investigators were able to identify Moore, according to records. A search warrant of his home was conducted, in which investigators recovered a backpack and clothing that seemingly matched that which was seen in surveillance footage, as well as one half of a two-pack of charcoal lighter fluid bottles that seemed to match another lighter fluid bottle found inside the mosque.
No one was hurt in the fire and firefighters grew suspicious when they noticed that the fire was created from more than one place of origin.
Over the past weekend CBS released a report of the fire and included these choice words regarding the incident and the effect Donald Trump has on anti-Muslim rhetoric:
Mustafaa Carroll, who is the executive director for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called on law enforcement to investigate, citing a recent spike in vandalism to mosques that have prompted hate crime investigations.
Advocacy groups believe there has been a spike in anti-Muslim incidents across the United States in recent weeks that can be linked to the mass shooting in California and the inflammatory rhetoric of Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. And they say that Muslims are fearful the backlash could lead to further harassment and violence.
Now that we see who really caused the fire, will this be considered a 'hate crime'?