Dept. of Justice charges alleged arsonist with hate crime - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Dept. of Justice charges alleged arsonist with hate crime

Randy Linn Randy Linn

PERRYSBURG, OH (Toledo News Now) - Federal hate crime charges were filed Friday against Randy Linn, the suspect in the Sunday night fire at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.

Linn faces two charges, one alleging defacing, damaging and destroying religious property, the other using fire and explosives to commit a felony.

State charges, including aggravated arson, have been dropped.

"This was a cowardly act of violence that flies in the face of one of the greatest freedoms that we enjoy in this community, state and country. That is the freedom of religion," said United States Attorney Steven Dettelbach.

Linn is seen entering the building on the center's surveillance video with what appears to be a firearm and gas can then leaving a short time later.

Minutes later firefighters respond to a blaze in the prayer room of the mosque.

 "We have zero tolerance for this kind of zero, intolerant act," said Dettelbach.

On Tuesday, a woman contacted authorities identifying Randy Linn in the pictures.

She said Linn is an ex-marine who recently made anti-Muslim comments. The woman said Linn complained about the international Muslim community's violent reaction to the anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube.

Linn complained that Muslims in this country get a "free pass".

While being booked, authorities said Linn made the offensive comment '(expletive) the Muslims.'

 Linn was arraigned in federal court in downtown Toledo Friday afternoon. He faces a mandatory of 10 years in prison, but more if convicted of the hate crime. He also faces a $250,000 fine.

S. Maseeh Rehman of United Muslims of Toledo said Linn deserves the hate crime charges.

 "This could have been really worse. There could have been more damage, loss of life and injuries," said Rehman.

After the charges were read, Linn responded:

"Just give me the death penalty, that's how I look at it."

He remains in jail Friday. His next court appearance is for a bond hearing Oct. 10.

Read the full affidavit. (WARNING: Expletives are included in the document)

Truck driver Linn is accused of setting a fire in the prayer room at the mosque Sept. 30. A sprinkler system extinguished the fire. Upon entering the second floor, officials found remnants of plastic gas cans in the middle of the prayer room. The carpet underneath the carpet had been burned.

Investigators determined the fire had been intentionally set.

Surveillance footage showed Linn and has vehicle. After a woman was able to identify him, authorities arrested him without incident Tuesday.

There was significant damage to the prayer room, along with additional water and smoke damage to other areas in the center. 

The facility was forced to close it doors while repairs are made. Meanwhile, the center has made arrangements to reschedule events and have classes resume at Owen's Community College's Arrowhead Campus Monday.

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Tune in for more tonight on WTOL 11 News at 5.

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