MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police have identified a suspect in the pavilion fire at Bde Maka Ska, but they may not arrest him right away.
Fire gutted Lola’s on the Lake restaurant inside the pavilion on May 16.
Little by little, demolition crews razed the popular structure on Bde Maka Ska’s north shore. The 90-year-old building came down as the owner of its most recent tenant learned police have a suspect in the fire.
“I always thought the police would do their job,” Lola’s on the Lake owner Louis King said.
Surveillance video caught the man at the pavilion that housed Lola’s before fire engulfed the building. In one image, you can see flames. A woman seen in the pictures is not a suspect.
“Whoever did this, you know, their lives will be changed profoundly as much or more than many of us,” King said.
While police know who the man is, it may take time to arrest him.
“There’s a different level, or a different threshold for getting somebody charged versus just them being a suspect,” said Minneapolis Police Spokesperson John Elder.
He says once a suspect is arrested, they must be charged within 36 hour or the person is released. So they build the case first with physical and forensic evidence.
“Some of the greatest evidence that we can have is photographic or video evidence. Whereas we have photos, we need to have the physical evidence behind it, and this case is progressing properly,” Elder said.
King says his focus is on the future.
“For us, nothing will bring back the things that we had. People need to be held accountable, that’s for sure. We’re not focused on that,” King said. “We’re focused on rebuilding, making sure we put our people to work, keeping service on the lake.”
King plans to have food trucks out this weekend but said to check their Facebook page for future updates.
While the demolition is done, crews still need to remove debris. That should happen Wednesday morning, then the parkway will re-open to traffic.