Man charged with arson in Houston mosque fire

- FILE - Crime Scene Tape (Photo: Shutterstock)

HOUSTON (AP) — A man who was charged with arson in a Christmas Day fire at a Houston mosque told an investigator he worshipped there, authorities said Wednesday.

Gary Nathaniel Moore, 37, of Houston, was arrested Wednesday morning, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Nicole Strong said. She added that officials don’t know a motive but added there’s no evidence that it was a hate crime.

The fire caused major damage to the building. A court document says that the investigation into the fire found five different points of origin, and a container of charcoal lighter.

Moore was being held without bond Wednesday. Court records didn’t list an attorney for him.

Firefighters responded to the fire at 2:47 p.m. Dec. 25, and Moore was interviewed at the scene.

According to the court document, he said he’d been a member of the mosque for about five years and came there to pray five times a day.

Moore told the fire investigator that he believed he was the last person to leave the mosque at about 2 p.m. and didn’t smell or see smoke. He said another mosque member later called to tell him about the fire and he returned.

The court document states that Moore was identified from surveillance video quickly walking away from the mosque at about 2:39 p.m. and that smoke could be seen coming from the mosque about three minutes later.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s