press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. He was arrested minutes after starting the fire outside Queer/Bar on February 24, 2020, and he told police he set the blaze because the sign with the word “queer” made him angry. “I think it’s wrong that we have a bunch of queers in our society,” he told the officers.
He later told a random stranger he wanted to trap the people inside and injure them, the DOJ states.The flames spread from the trash bin to an exterior wall of the building housing Queer/Bar.
There were about 50 people in the bar at the time, but they were evacuated safely. The situation could have been deadly. Until the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016, which took the lives of 49 people, the worst mass killing in an LGBTQ+ space was an arson fire at the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973.
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