NY police: Man confesses to mosque firebombing

Suspect tells police he had grievances with targets after confessing to series of Molotov cocktail attacks on mosque, Hindu place of worship.

By REUTERS
January 4, 2012 12:28
1 minute read.
Imam al-Khoei Foundation in New York

Imam al-Khoei Foundation NY 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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NEW YORK - A New York City man faces arson and bias charges after confessing on Tuesday to a series of Molotov cocktail attacks that hit a mosque and a Hindu place of worship and unsettled civic leaders concerned the actions might portend violent religious bigotry.

The suspect, who has not been identified by name, is a 40-year-old unemployed tow-truck driver who appeared to have been motivated by personal grudges, said a law enforcement familiar with the investigation who was speaking on condition of anonymity.

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The suspect, who is originally from Guyana and lives in the Jamaica section of Queens where four of the attacks took place, also made "broadly anti-Muslim statements" during questioning, the official said.

He chose the mosque after being refused access to the facility's bathroom, and he mistook one of the private residences as the home of a "crack dealer" with whom he had a dispute, the official said.

Another of the targets was a private residence where Hindu services were held, but that may have been a coincidence. The suspect had a years-old dispute with someone who may not live there anymore, the official said.

Police earlier had announced a "person of interest" in the investigation was being questioned, then later said he had been arrested upon confessing to the firebomb attacks.

"The individual is implicating himself in each of the five firebombing cases, citing personal grievances with each location," said police spokesman Paul Browne.

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