A man targeted Muslims and Arabs when he threw flaming gas-filled bottles at five buildings.
QUEENS, NY – A man who targeted Muslims and Arabs in a firebombing campaign against five Queens buildings has been jailed for 20 years.
Suraj Poonai Ray Lazier Legend, 45, of Queens Village told police his goal was to kill as many Muslims and Arabs as possible the night he sped through Jamaica tossing flaming, gasoline-filled bottles at a mosque, a Hindu place of worship, homes and a deli, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
The attacks happened on Jan. 1, 2012, when Legend threw the first gas-filled bottle ablaze at a Hindu place of worship on 170th Street, causing a fire on the front lawn, Brown said. Legend said in a statement to police that he disliked Muslims, Arabs and Hindus.
Soon after, Legend threw more blazing bottles into a private home on 43rd Avenue and a deli at 179th Street and Hillside Avenue, Brown said. He then drove to another home on 107th Avenue and threw a flammable device through a bedroom window.
Legend launched his last fire bomb at the Al Khoei Benevolent Association, a mosque located at 89-89 Van Wyck Expressway, causing fire damage to its exterior, Brown said.
“Hate crimes and arson are a volatile mix meant to inflict suffering and intimidation on its victims,” Brown said.
“In this case, the targets of the defendant’s hate-filled arson attack ranged from private dwellings to houses of worship and endangered the lives of those within the buildings as well as the firefighters called to respond to the scene. As such the sentence imposed by the Court is more than warranted.”
Legend, who pleaded guilty to attempted arson as a hate crime in September, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison followed by five years of post-release supervision.