A 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a hate crime and arson related to a fire Friday afternoon at a Coachella Valley mosque.
Carl Dial was booked on five felony charges, including commission of a hate crime, arson, maliciously setting a fire and second-degree burglary, according to law enforcement sources and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department booking records.
The fire at the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley mosque is one of several incidents over the past week that officials are investigating as possible backlashes from the San Bernardino terrorist shootings.
Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit, who visited the mosque Friday night, said he was alarmed that it may have been targeted.
“It’s horribly lamentable that we would paint any group as undesirables based on the actions of an extremely small number of radical folks that don’t represent the religion in any way,” he said.
“If in fact it was done with the mosque as a target. it’s reprehensible, and the people who perpetrated that act should be treated the way we would any other terrorist.”
Last year, a shot was fired into the same mosque; no one was hurt. That incident was investigated as a possible hate crime.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department “believes this is an intentional act, and we are using all available resources to follow up on any leads that are brought to our attention,” Deputy Armando Munoz, a department spokesman, said in a statement. “Cal Fire and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting us with this investigation.”
Los Angeles Times