ATF: Suspect arrested in Houston mosque arson case

The man police claim started a fire at a southwest Houston mosque Christmas Day was a devout member.

HOUSTON – Federal investigators have confirmed that a suspect was arrested in connection with the arson case involving a Houston mosque Wednesday morning.

According to Nicole Strong, public information officer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, arson investigators with the Houston Fire Department arrested 37-year-old Gary Moore, who is charged with first-degree arson. He is being held on a $10,000 bond.

On Tuesday, the ATF said that there was no evidence that the Christmas Day two-alarm fire was a hate crime. Because of this, the FBI was not involved in the investigation.

Investigators said the cause of the fire at the Savoy Mosque is incendiary.

According to the probable cause document, Moore was interviewed by investigators at the scene after the fire. He told them he had been a member of the Savoy Masjid Mosque for five years.

Surveillance video from two nearby businesses show Moore going into the mosque, then quickly leaving at 2:39 p.m. Three minutes later, smoke starts showing.

Investigators later found the fire had five different points of origin. They found two containers of charcoal lighter – one at Moore's house and another at the mosque.

The probable cause document does not give a motive for the arson.

Harris County DA's Office says Moore will appear in court tomorrow morning.

On Saturday, congregants prayed in a different space from their damaged mosque. They gathered in a temporary space nearby, in the same shopping plaza located in the 11200 block of South Wilcrest near Belfort.

ISGH President M.J. Khan said they have received letters, emails, phone calls, monetary donations and flowers from across the country over the last few days.

ISGH officials said they already have enough money to rebuild their mosque, so they are encouraging people to send similar letters of support in lieu of monetary donations.


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