On New Year’s Eve an arsonist poured gasoline down a stairway in the “Neighbours” gay nightclub in Seattle and set it on fire. About 700 people were in the club at the time of the incident, and all were fortunate to escape without injury.
The club’s management provided police with a surveillance video, and then later released it to the media. A neighbor of the suspected arsonist recognized him in the video, and notified police. Last Saturday the suspect, Musab Masmari, was arrested while on his way to the airport in Seattle.
Here’s a news video about the case from King 5 TV in Seattle:
Interestingly enough, back in 2011 — when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State — Musab Mohamed Masmari acted as a “cultural ambassador” for a Seattle arts center when Iraqi journalists visited the city under the auspices of the State Department:
Iraqi Journalists visit 911 Media Arts Center
A delegation of Iraqi journalists and media professionals visited 911 Media Arts Center’s offices yesterday morning as part of an ongoing program through the World Affairs Council and the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). During the meeting 911 Media director Steven Vroom presented the workings of the organization to the group and fielded questions via two Arabic translators.
Seattle resident Musab Masmari, a Libyan/US citizen, was also in attendance to act as a cultural ambassador on behalf of 911 Media Arts Center for the Arabic speaking visitors.
The Muslim Issue also reports that Mr. Masmari originally hails from Benghazi.
Below is the accompanying news article from King TV:
Suspect arrested in arson at Neighbours nightclub
Seattle Police arrested 30-year-old Musab Masmari Saturday morning in connection with the arson at Neighbours nightclub on January 1.
Police took Masmari into custody as he was en route to the airport.
Police say following the arrest, Masmari was interviewed by detectives and later booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Arson.
It was just after midnight on New Year’s Eve while nearly 700 people crammed into Neighbours for a celebration when customers noticed the staircase at the iconic gay club was on fire.
Management at the iconic gay club in Capitol Hill later discovered a gasoline container near the stairs.
No one was injured.
Neighbours released surveillance video that police believe shows Masmari as he walks into the club.
The video was captured around the time of the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve. Masmari is carrying something in his hand.
The bar later found a container of gasoline at the top of a staircase. According to SPD, Masmari doused the staircase with fuel and set it on fire.
Detectives worked on the case with the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
A woman who lived next door to Masmari for three years calls him erratic and violent.
“We’re scared of him,” she said. “He yells and throws things.”
She asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, still horrified by her neighbor’s arrest. She called police several weeks ago when she saw his face in surveillance video on the news.
“I looked at the video and it was clearly him,” she said. “Terrified? Yes.”
“I feel that the streets are a little bit safer tonight,” said Neighbours Spokesman Shaun Knittel. “Why do 750 people have to potentially pay for your ideals, your beliefs, your anger?”
It’s a question that’s haunted Knittel for a month.
Police have not yet released a motive for the arson, but expect more details to surface when Masmari faces a judge for the first time in court.
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.
Hat tip: Vlad Tepes.