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Suspect in Seattle NYE Gay Bar Fire Arrested

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday Feb 4, 2014
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  (Source:Seattle Police Department via Gay Star News)

A Libyan Muslim man was arrested Saturday in connection to a fire that ignited on New Year’s Eve in a Seattle gay club, Gay Star News reports.

Musab Mohamed Musmari, 30, was arrested Feb. 1 just before he planned to flee the United States with a one-way ticket to Turkey. According to GSN, Musmari was carrying his Libyan passport and $342 in cash when he was arrested in Bellevue, Wash.

"Numerous callers said the person looks like Musab Musmari and one caller said he was sure it was him," reads a police report.

GSN notes that Musmari is Muslim but "does not appear to be very devout as he drinks alcohol and has had a girlfriend while living in the US, and his landlord told King County District Court on Monday that Musmari had mentioned gay friends positively."

Musmari has also been reported to have a history of instability. His former girlfriend was granted a domestic violence protection order against him in 2011 and another woman sought a harassment protection against him after claiming he punched and chased her in July.

Musmari’s landlord told a court in a different assault case that he had a problem with alcohol and held grudges against staff at a number of bars in Seattle.

Musmari is accused of bringing in a gallon of gasoline into Seattle’s gay club, Neigbours, just after midnight New Year’s Eve. He allegedly doused a set of stars in gas and then left the container with the rest of the gas at the top of the stairs before lighting the stairs on fire.

The bar quickly evacuated, however. The Neighbour’s staff and two off duty military personnel who had been drinking at the bar put the fire out with an extinguisher.

"Detectives from our Arson/Bomb Squad, working along with members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), have been investigating this case since the early morning hours of January 1st," a Seattle Police statement on the arrest reads. "Detectives would like to thank the public for all the tips they have received on the person of interest. Following his arrest, the suspect was interviewed by detectives and later booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Arson."

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