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Terrorism Charges Possible in Seattle New Years Eve Gay Bar Arson

Musmari

Musab Mohammed Masmari — the 30-year-old suspect arrested for New Year’s Eve arson at Seattle's Neighbours gay nightclub — has pleaded guilty. His plea agreement could get him anywhere from five to 20 years in prison.

The Seattle Times provides more details about how Musmari committed his crime:

Police say that Masmari avoided a security check at Neighbours by entering an adjacent bar called Therapy Lounge. He then passed through an interior door between the bars into the two-floor dance club and was seen on surveillance footage walking around with an object that appeared large enough to contain a 1-gallon gas can, according to the state charging documents.

Masmari allegedly fled the club within seconds of flames first appearing on the footage, the papers say. Club patrons and a bartender quickly doused the blaze with a fire extinguisher.

There were more than 750 people inside the club that night, authorities said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg — supervisor the Joint Terrorism Task Force handled the case— suggesting that hate-crime and terrorism may be mentioned as part of his motives during his sentencing hearing on July 31.

Dominic Holden, the openly gay reporter for The Stranger, provided a timeline of the investigation leading to Masmari’s arrest. Police identified Masmari carrying a large container of gasoline from nightclub footage. He was at Sea-Tac airport trying to escape to Turkey with his worldly possessions when police apprehended him.


Seattle Arson Investigated As Hate Crime, Bail Set At $1 Million

Musab Masmari

In the latest development of Seattle's gay bar arsonist, police have determined that Musab Musmari is a flight risk and have thus set his bail at $1 million. This determination was reached in light of the fact that when SPD arrested Musmari as he was leaving home he was in possession of his U.S. and Libyan passports and a one-way airline ticket to Turkey.

Meanwhile, the FBI, working on the case as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, are investigating the case as a possible hate crime, and friends and victims of Musmari have described him as having increasingly volatile and unstable behavior over the past year.


Sheriff: Not Enough Evidence for Hate Crime Charge in NC Arson of Gay Couple's Home

Investigations are ongoing into an arson fire which burned down a gay couple's home in Clayton, North Carolina over the weekend. The gay couple had been subject to anti-gay harassment for over a year. 

WRAL reports: Nc_arson

Sheriff Steve Bizzell told the station that as they continue to investigate the case, the status could change if evidence supports it being a hate crime. Other agents have joined the investigation including, the State Bureau of Investigation and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A search warrant obtain by WRAL on Monday indicates that the blaze was set from within the home but does not states exactly how it started. The couple refused media requests for an interview, but neighbors said the men have been harassed on several occasions over the past year.

Bizzell would not comment on the arson investigation but did say his office was aware of two previous reports of harassment. An incident in December, involved a note in the mailbox saying "move sinners" and a second incident was in November involving a homophobic slur left on the back of the house.

Deputies said one was home when the fire broke out between 1:30 a.m. to 3:15 a.m. Friday. One of the neighbors called 911.

Authorities are searching for a Chevrolet S-10 pick-up truck that may have been used in the break-in and arson.


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