Rash Arson Suspect Captured On Video
A suspect in the arson of Brooklyn LGBTQ bar Rash has been charged for allegedly starting a fire in the nightclub that left two employees injured and heavily damaged the building.
The Department of Justice on Thursday charged John Lhota with the April 3 arson after security camera footage showed Lhota purchasing a gasoline canister and filling it with gasoline at a gas station before proceeding to Rash and pouring the substance on the bar's floor. “The video showed Lhota tossing a lit cigarette on the floor, but the gasoline didn't ignite,” read the DOJ's statement. “Lhota then used a cigarette lighter to ignite the gasoline, causing an explosion and a fire.” Security footage also showed Lhota fleeing the scene.
“This Office strongly condemns such acts of violence, and will vigorously prosecute this case. The victims, and all LGBTQ+ New Yorkers, should be able to enjoy their nights out in peace and without fear of such a dangerous attack,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace.
In his first court appearance Thursday, Lhota pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Lhota faces up to 40 years in prison.
Brooklyn LGBTQ: Previously on Towleroad
Photo courtesy of DICE