Arsonist Who Targeted Somali Café Gets 15 Years in Prison

A federal judge in North Dakota followed prosecutors’ recommendations in sentencing a Minnesota man to 15 years in prison Tuesday for using a Molotov cocktail to burn down a Somali café in Grand Forks, N.D., late last year. The firebomb – thrown through a window at 2 a.m. on Dec. 8 by a masked man – destroyed the Juba Café, a popular gathering spot for Somalis, and damaged adjoining businesses, causing an estimated $250,000 in damage, authorities said. Matthew William Gust, 26, of East Grand Forks, Minn., was arrested by the FBI and sheriff’s deputies in Fosston, Minn., six days after the firebombing. Tips from a family member, blood droplets left at the scene, surveillance video and the recovery of a mask believed used by the arsonist led to the suspect’s arrest, court documents indicate. The hate crime investigation by the FBI “revealed that Gust had a strong dislike for Somalis and did not want them living in the Grand Forks area,” according to court documents filed by prosecutors. “When encountering Somalis, [Gust] would frequently get angry and describe them using the word ‘nigger.’ He told friends and co-workers that he thought Somalis ‘needed to go away’ and that he would ‘do something’ about it or ‘take care of it’ or ‘kick all Somalians’ asses,’” the documents say. Defense attorney Theodore Sandberg told the court that Gust was not a racist or white supremacist, but had developed an animus toward Somalis after he was robbed at gunpoint last year while working with a family member at a sandwich shop, shortly after he was released from prison. Suspects in that crime have not been identified or arrested.

via splcenter: Arsonist Who Targeted Somali Café Gets 15 Years in Prison

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