Cops: Man Starts Fire at Store He Thought Was Muslim-Owned

Henrietta Strickland
March 12, 2017

Lucie, FL man tried to burn down a convenience store on Friday because he mistakenly believed that the owners were Islamic Arabs and he was angry at them for not carrying his favorite kind of orange juice.

The fire was put out quickly and didn't cause much damage since the store was closed and protected by security shutters.

According to WPTV, police arrested 64-year-old Richard Lloyd when he gave himself up at the scene and told sheriff's deputies that he was trying to "run the Arabs out of the country". His bail bond is set at $30,000.

The sheriff said Lloyd will be given a mental health evaluation and it will be up to the State Attorney's office to determine if this was an intentional hate crime. "It's unfortunate that Mr. Lloyd made the assumption that the store owners were Arabic when, in fact, they are of Indian descent", St. Lucie County Sheriff told a daily.

Lloyd told detectives he assumed the owner was Muslim and that made him livid because of "what they are doing in the Middle East", Mascara said. Lloyd was present at the spot when the police arrived, and asked them to "take me away".

Lloyd told investigators that he chose to try and burn down the Met Mart because he was angry about what followers of Islam "are doing in the Middle East", adding he thought the store owners were Muslim.

Earlier in February, an Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead after an American man thought he was from Iran. Violence also spread in SC when another Indian store owner was fatally shot by a white U.S. citizen.

Some religious leaders attribute the crime spike to the rise of President Donald Trump, who critics say fuelled Islamophobia and racism as a candidate.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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