MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An arrest warrant has been issued in North Dakota for a Minnesota man suspected of throwing a Molotov cocktail inside a Somali restaurant.
The Grand Forks Police Department says the warrant was issued on Friday for 25-year-old Matthew Gust, of East Grand Forks. As of Sunday, he was still on the loose.
Police suspect Gust of arson in the attack last week on Juba Coffee House. The fire was started in the early morning hours of Dec. 8.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, court documents show that a 40-ounce beer bottle filled with gasoline was hurled through the restaurant window.
While firefighters knocked down the flames within minutes, the damage was estimated at $90,000. No one was injured in the fire.
Authorities have not commented on the motivation for the crime, although there’s been concern that it was a hate crime. The fire was set just days after the building was spray-painted with Nazi imagery and the words “go home.”
Last week, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked for federal authorities to investigate the arson. The group says that the lives of American Muslims have been placed in danger following the rise of “anti-Muslim hysteria.”
Last Thursday, the FBI confirmed it was investigating the arson, the newspaper reports.
Anyone with information on Gust is asked to call 701-787-8004. Police caution the public not to approach Gust and to call 911 if he’s seen.