COACHELLA, Calif. (AP) — A 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime and arson in connection with a Southern California mosque fire.
Carl James Dial Jr., of Palm Desert, was arrested late Friday and faces charges of committing arson, a hate crime and burglary, Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Andrew Shouse Saturday said in a statement. On Friday night, authorities said they had detained a person of interest, but declined to give details.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department said in a statement late Friday night that the blaze at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs was "an intentional act" and said it would use all available resources to investigate.
The statement says that state fire investigators and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are now assisting in the investigation, and anyone with information to come forward. No details were provided on how the fire was set or whether the department has any suspects.
County fire officials said flames were reported just after noon Friday at the mosque. The fire was contained to the small building's front lobby, and no one was injured.