A Florida man has been arrested after trying to set a convenience store on fire to “run the Arabs out of our country”.
Richard Lloyd reportedly told police he tried to buy a bottle of orange juice at the shop in Port St Lucie but it was not in stock, and was also upset because he assumed the owners were Muslim.
The 64-year-old said he had pushed a bin to the front of the Met Mart building before setting its contents alight, according to a police statement. He told officers he was angry because of what Muslims were “doing in the Middle East”. The store was closed at the time.
The shop’s owners were in fact of Indian descent, not Arabic, police said.
St Lucie County sheriff Ken Mascara said: “When the deputies arrived, they noticed the dumpster had been rolled in front of the doors and the contents were lit.
“Upon seeing our deputies, the man put his hands behind his back and said, ‘Take me away.’
“The man, identified as Richard Lloyd, was read his Miranda rights and then told deputies that he pushed the dumpster to the front of the building, tore down signs posted to the outside of the store and lit the contents of the dumpster on fire to ‘run the Arabs out of our country’.
“We will not tolerate violence based on age, race, colour, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, mental or physical disability.”
Mr Lloyd was due to undergo a mental health evaluation, Mr Mascara said, and state prosecutors would decide whether to charge him with an intentional hate crime.