Shaun Knittel, the associate editor of Seattle Gay News, has published a column calling for 750 charges of attempted murder in the case of Musab Masmari [PHOTO], who was fleeing the country on a one-way ticket to Turkey when arrested for the New Year’s Eve arson of a crowded gay nightclub. Masmari is being held on a single charge of arson with bail set at $1M. From Knittel’s column:
Information has surfaced that a witness had met with Musmari and spoken with him about the arson. Although Musmari never said why he started the fire, he did indicate that he didn’t want to get into trouble, so once he saw that his photo and video surveillance footage had led to his being identified by witnesses, he bought a ticket to leave town. Luckily, Musmari never made the flight. He was arrested before he could reach Sea-Tac airport. I believe in innocent until proven guilty. And I expect the man to get a fair trial. But I also expect for Musmari to be charged with more than arson. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that what he did was attempted murder of 750 people. I will attend the hearings and trial in hopes that justice will be served. The city, the nightclub, and the LGBTQ community are safer tonight with Musmari behind bars.
In his lengthy piece, Knittel, who is also a spokesperson for Neighbours, notes that the club was founded decades ago by the Egyptian family which owns it today. This had led some to speculate that the family knows Masmari, but the family denies ever having met him. Masmari has had numerous run-ins with other businesses in the area. According to local media, Masmari hold US and Libyan passports, both of which were confiscated upon his arrest.