A man sought in connection with two arsons at Minneapolis mosques has been arrested and is set to appear Monday in federal court.

Jackie Rahm Little, 36, was arrested in Mankato late Saturday and faces state and federal arson charges after the fires, including one in which 40 children were in a basement day care. Prosecutors say the fires at the mosques occurred after vandalism that targeted the office of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and a Minneapolis police car.

"Based on our investigation, there is no other known, active threat to our Muslim neighbors," Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara said early Sunday in a statement.

A warrant had been issued for Little after the fires last week, and Little was arrested Saturday in Mankato, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The fires rattled Minnesota's Muslim community. At a news conference Tuesday, a dozen community leaders decried what many fear were attacks motivated by Islamophobia.

O'Hara called the fires "an attempt to inflict terror onto our Muslim community."

"Houses of worship should be safe places," O'Hara said. "This level of blatant hatred will not be tolerated in our great city."

An agent of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not delve into Little's possible motives but alleged in an affidavit the fires occurred after months of harassing emails to Omar that escalated to vandalism. Hennepin County prosecutors also declined to discuss a motive.


In late December, Omar's office received messages from an email address that federal investigators say belonged to Little. According to the ATF agent's affidavit, the emails included a photo of a man urinating on a Qur'an in a toilet and an image of a bloodied ear.

On Jan. 5, Little allegedly went to Omar's Minneapolis office and spray-painted "500" outside the office door. That evening, he allegedly spray-painted the same thing on the door of a Minneapolis police car being used by a Somali officer and on the door to the 24 Somali Mall on E. 24th Street a few hours later.

"The meaning of the '500' text is unclear," the ATF investigator wrote.

Federal investigators allege Little emailed Omar's office at least twice more, sending a photo of the spray-paint outside her office on March 6.

Gas cans found

On the evening of April 23, police said Little lit a cardboard box on fire in the second-floor bathroom of the Masjid Omar Islamic Center, a mosque in the same 24th Street building as the 24 Somali Mall. A staff member at the Islamic center shooed Little out. Police said they found the charred remains of the box beside a melted red plastic gas can.

The next evening at Masjid Al Rahma mosque on Bloomington Avenue, investigators allege Little started a fire on the third floor of a small building attached to the mosque.

A volunteer security guard and three mosque employees helped evacuate the building, including the 40 children who were in a child care center that rents space in the building.

Investigators found another red plastic gas can on the third floor.

Just 10 minutes after the fire at Masjid Al Rahma started, police say Little was seen on a surveillance video at a gas station on Lake Street, buying another gas can and filling it up.

Police make ID

After the second mosque fire, community leaders condemned the attacks and the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations offered a $5,000 reward for information in the case. Minneapolis police pleaded for the public's help identifying the bearded white man with glasses who they believed set the fires.

It was Plymouth police who recognized the grainy figure in surveillance videos as Little, according to federal investigators.

Plymouth police told the ATF that Littlewas suspected in at least two arsons, one in May 2022 and one in December 2021, and had a history of domestic assault, including an incident in 2023.

Past arson, mental illness

Little has been charged with arson at least once before in Minnesota, according to court records. In 2021, police said he set a gas can on fire atop a car on Park Avenue in Minneapolis. The car belonged to a former neighbor, and Little had recently been evicted from the apartment building, according to court records. Little was released on cash bail, paid by the Minnesota Freedom Fund according to court records. He was to be evaluated for competency to stand trial in May 2022 but it is not clear he attended the hearing, or the result of the evaluation. A hearing notice mailed to him in September 2022 was returned, according to court records.

News archives and court records suggest a struggle with mental illness.

Little's family reported him missing in March 2021, after not hearing from him for several days. He was ordered committed a month later, according to court records. A judge issued another order for commitment on Dec. 30, 2022, but it is not clear if Little was committed. Court records show mail sent to his address in late January about the commitment was returned by the U.S. Postal Service.

Staff writers Louis Krauss, Hunter Woodall and Vince Tuss contributed to this report.