A 64-year-old man in Florida tried to burn down a convenience store owned by Indian-Americans because he thought they were ‘Muslim’.
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said the accused Richard Lloyd confessed that he wanted to “run the Arabs out of our country”, so he pushed a dumpster in front of the Port St. Lucie store and set the contents on fire, CNN reported.
Lloyd was charged with first-degree arson and booked into the St. Lucie County Jail in lieu of a $30,000 bond.
He told detectives that he assumed the Convenience Store owner was Muslim and that made him livid because of “what they are doing in the Middle East,” Mascara said.
“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Lloyd made the assumption that the store owners were Arabic when, in fact, they are of Indian descent,” Mascara added.
The sheriff said Lloyd’s mental health will be evaluated and the state attorney’s office will decide if this was a hate crime.
According to the report, Lloyd told investigators he planned to burn the building because he “was doing his part for America.”
Mascara further informed that when deputies arrived Friday morning and found the fire, a man in front of the store put his hands behind his back and told officers to “take me away.”
Last month, Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed in an alleged hate crime in Kansas.