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An LGBTQ youth center in Phoenix, Arizona, was set on fire by what police are suspecting was a former client.
According to video surveillance of the fire, suspect Darren William Beach, Jr. walked into the Phoenix LGBTQ center one•n•ten on July 12 at 11am. Video shows Beach pouring liquid from a gas canister throughout the center. After Beach left the scene, a fire proceeded to break out throughout the center on the camera’s feed.
After testing the canister’s liquid, the Phoenix Fire Department believes Beach poured gasoline onto the center.
“We sent it to the lab to be double and triple tested. Right now, early indications are that yes this was gasoline,” Captain Rob McDade of the Phoenix Fire Department told CBS 5. “We have every reason to believe that person lit a match after that.”
According to the center’s official website, one•n•ten helps LGBTQ youth ages 14-24 through service programs. The center also hosts weekly discussions on “a wide range of social, educational, health, and community issues.” Beach, who is 26-years-old, had previously aged out of the center when he turned 25.
Linda Elliot, one•n•ten’s executive director, was “shocked” by the incident. She did not expect Beach to ever attack the program.
“We were shocked and dismayed and hurt,” Elliot told CBS 5. “It’s a youth who we’ve helped over the years and who had never shown this kind of behavior in the past.”
People in need. This center did nothing but help and provide a safe space and he just went and destroyed it. He used to fucking GO there -— regular sized ray (@racquetball38) July 28, 2017
Beach is still wanted as a suspect in the case, but the fire department has since ruled the case is not a hate crime because Beach was a former client of the center, Fox 11 reports. ABC 13 notes that no one was hurt in the fire, but some of the center’s equipment was burned during the arson.
Update July 31, 8:17am CT: Beach was booked and jailed Friday on suspicion of arson of an occupied structure, according to the Associated Press.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.