A woman who intentionally set a series of fires Wednesday at a Minnesota university has been charged with first-degree arson after claiming she wanted to burn the entire school and telling police that they were “lucky” she did not know how to build a bomb.
Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, of Minneapolis, admitted to investigators that she wanted St. Catherine University, a private Catholic women’s college in St. Paul — locally known as St. Kate’s, to “burn to the ground.” Hassan claimed that no one cares when such a thing happens in “Muslim land,” so why not attempt arson in the United States.
Hassan, a former student at the university, also told police, “You guys are lucky that I don’t know how to build a bomb because I would have done that,” KARE TV reported.
— infowe (@infowe) January 20, 2018
At least six fires were set throughout the university campus on Wednesday, including one in a residence hall located adjacent to the on-campus daycare center. At the time of the residence hall fire, 33 children were present at the daycare center, along with eight adults. The residence hall fire was contained following the activation of the sprinkler system.
Utilizing campus surveillance video, authorities identified the suspect as Hassan and arrested her without incident.
In an interview with police, Hassan admitted setting the fires because she had been reading about the U.S. military destroying schools in Iraq or Afghanistan and “felt that she should do exactly the same thing.”
Hassan acknowledged that she was not as successful as she had hoped in her attempt to burn down St. Catherine University.
According to KARE TV, Hassan wrote a letter containing radical ideas to her roommates who turned it over to campus security.
St. Catherine posted a tweet on Thursday regarding the incident which read, “We are shocked and saddened by the statements made by a former student, Tnuza Hassan, regarding her motives for starting fires on campus earlier this week. We are dismayed by her reported statements and know that they have impacted us all deeply.”
We are shocked and saddened by the statements made by a former student, Tnuza Hassan, regarding her motives for starting fires on campus earlier this week. We are dismayed by her reported statements and know that they have impacted us all deeply. More: https://t.co/4Y6ra4FJEt
— St. Kate’s (@StKate) January 19, 2018
If convicted, Hassan faces up to 20 years in prison and could be required to pay up to $20,000 in fines.