HOUSTON, Texas – An arrest was announced at 6 p.m. Monday night at the Houston Fire Department Arson Headquarters in connection with the February 13th Quba Islamic Institute fire. Darryl Ferguson, age 55 of Houston, has been charged with arson. It appears the fire is not a hate crime. Ferguson told reporters at the police station that he was just trying to keep warm and the fire was an accident.
Ferguson approached detectives who were investigating in the area around the Islamic Institute and asked to talk to them, according to ABC13 News in Houston. He is reported to have voluntarily admitted to setting the fire.
Breitbart Texas reported on the day of the fire that Houston fire officials confirmed that an accelerant was used to start the blaze. The early morning fire destroyed a storage area at a southeast Houston Islamic community and education center. The fire began at about 5 a.m. last Friday morning. A warehouse used to store books, furniture and supplies was destroyed but the mosque and school were untouched.
The crime is a felony of the first degree. Fort Bend County court records (attached below) show that Ferguson was previously indicted for burglary of a building and unauthorized use of a vehicle, both state jail felonies. Ferguson pleaded guilty to the crime of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to one year in county jail. The burglary charge was dismissed as part of the plea bargain. According to ABC13 News, Ferguson also has a criminal history for credit card abuse, trespassing, possession of a controlled substance, and prostitution. His criminal history does not include arson.
Breitbart Texas journalist Bob Price reported after the fire that left-of-center media appeared to have jumped to conclusions about who may have started the inferno and that the fire was started intentionally and was a hate crime.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.