Police have arrested a suspect believed to be responsible for a fire that broke out at the Islamic Center of the Eastside in Bellevue, Washington.
While the suspected perpetrator has a history of contentious interactions at the mosque, officials are not prepared to call it a hate crime.
Based on video footage and other evidence, Isaac Wayne Wilson is believed to have acted alone when setting the Jan. 14 fire at the mosque.
He was booked into the King County Jail on arson-related charges.
The mosque, which had been in Bellevue for decades, had 40-foot flames coming from the rear of the mosque when firefighters arrived, according to the Bellevue Reporter.
Police quickly located Wilson, as he was laying in the mosque’s parking lot.
At a press conference, members of law enforcement revealed that Wilson, who had an extensive criminal history, had several negative interactions at the mosque, one for which he was arrested and sentenced to probation.
Regardless, both the King County prosecuting attorney’s office and the police department said they aren’t comfortable calling it a hate crime at this time.
Mike Hogan, assistant prosecuting attorney, said, “At this point, we haven’t seen any evidence that this is a hate crime. A hate crime is proven by words or actions that the perpetrator was targeting a community because of feelings of animosity towards them.”
The fire, which is also not being viewed as an act of terrorism, caused substantial damage to the mosque.
While officials aren’t comfortable labeling the crime, Police Chief Steve Mylett expressed that he believed the arson was an attack on the entire city.
“We view this as an attack on the entire Bellevue community… We will rebuild bigger and better. We are making a commitment today that the Bellevue Police Department will do everything to ensure this investigation is handled thoroughly, and the perpetrator is held responsible to the full extent of the law.”
Because the arson occurred at a place of worship, Bellevue police will be working with members of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during the investigation.
Wilson’s motive in the alleged act is currently unknown.
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