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Darren Beach Jr. arrested for setting fire to LGBTQ youth center in Phoenix

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PHOENIX – Is LGBT community going to be the newest target of extremist elements in the US? There are reasons to believe that indeed it is happening. After immigrants and Muslims, it seems the LGBT community is the latest target.

Reports suggest that a man in his mid-twenties was apprehended and later taken into custody after he allegedly set fire to an LGBTQ center in Phoenix.

The 26-year old man has been identified as Darren Beach Jr. Police claim that the man was arrested without any violent incident. Officials claim that the arsonist was charged with one count of arson of an occupied structure.

A report in the Washington Post claims that the arson took place on 12th July. The incident was initially thought to have been caused by multiple reasons including “combination of improperly stored rags and batteries mixed with a hot, ventilated room,” Rob McDade, Phoenix Fire Department captain said. Later when the CCTV footages were seen more closely, the real reason of the fire was revealed.




CCTV footages show the accused clearly walking to the center with a gasoline can. He can be seen walking into a back room, cameras catch him spilling gasoline on the floor as the room lights up in flames.

Reports suggest that the man who caused the fire was part of One-n-Ten that runs the center. “Someone that you’ve provided services to and helped out, you just would not expect to come back to your center and do this sort of thing,” said an official of the center.

She went on to add, “Many of them knew this young man, and this is their safe place…Someone comes and burns it down … that’s traumatic.”

A CBSNews report, while quoting a former volunteer, Ray Bradford, said he knew the accused. “It was always clear to me that Darren had a good heart. He had a sense of right and wrong. He wanted people to be right with each other…If he could get the counseling, the medications and food, the shelter — just get the basic things he needs, it would have changed him radically and this incident never would have happened,” Bradford said.

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