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Police arrest Neighbours arson suspect on way to airport — UPDATE


Masmari’s Facebook profile picture

Following a month-long investigation, a suspect has been arrested in the New Year’s arson attempt at Neighbours, according to Seattle Police.

Musab Mohamed Masmari, 30, was arrested Saturday morning as police say he was on his way to the airport. Masmari, who has not been charged with the crime, was booked into King County Jail for investigation of arson, according to police.

Masmari has been a resident living near Broadway and Roy, but at a recent sentencing hearing he said he had since moved to the Eastside. His Facebook profile lists Benghazi, Libya as his hometown. He was listed as living in Lynnwood in early 2009. CHS learned Masmari has had a U.S. passport since at least 2010. Masmari has a string of assault and no contact violations in the neighborhood over the last year.

Masmari was scheduled to appear in court Monday for a hearing following his conviction and jail sentence on an assault charge stemming from an incident last summer. Municipal court officials told CHS the hearing was planned to discuss the probation office’s monitoring of Masmari while he received court-ordered mental health treatment. CHS was the only media in the courtroom in mid January when Masmari received what added up to a 30-day jail sentence. Masmari told the judge he intended to participate in a work-release program to allow him to keep his job at a gas station. He was also ordered to undergo a mental evaluation. His lawyer said he planned to appeal the decision. At the time, Masmari declined to speak with CHS under advice of his attorney. UPDATE: The Monday hearing related to the assault case will be postponed, court officials say. CHS has learned Masmari’s attorney has filed an appeal in the case. Meanwhile, a bond hearing for Masmari in the arson case is scheduled for Monday afternoon in what is likely to be a media-stuffed courtroom despite charges not having been filed yet in the case. Following Monday’s bond hearing, the court will release the initial probable cause document justifying Masmari’s incarceration. Masmari is currently held in the King County Jail.

On January 1st, a man poured gasoline over a staircase inside Neighbours and lit it on fire as the nightclub was packed with more than 700 New Year’s revelers.  Detectives from SPD’s Arson/Bomb Squad, along with members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, have since been investigating the case.

Masmari’s arrest comes after a month-long investigation that had frustrated some police tipsters who suspected Masmari might be the man shown in security footage. Last month detectives released surveillance images of a man seen acting unusually inside the club as the flames broke out. SPD said the man was a person of interest in the investigation, but would not confirm his identity.

Masmari has a record of Seattle assaults and arrests that increased in frequency starting last spring. Since the January 1st incident, several business owners in the north Broadway area told CHS they have had run-ins with the man.

Last April, Masmari put a cigarette out in a man’s cheek as he entered the Lookout bar, one employee told CHS. “He was trying to come in with a cigarette, and the guy just told him he couldn’t do that, so he put it out in his cheek,” said Stevie Gayle, who was bar tending at the Lookout that night.

A fight broke out outside the bar, but Gayle said Masmari fled before the police arrived.

CHS spoke with a north Broadway business owner familiar with Masmari who said he talked with police after the pictures were released and tips began coming in to SPD’s arson and bomb squad detectives. The Broadway business owner said that he and others were forced to “86″ Masmari from their venues after run-ins in recent months.

Here’s is the report on the arrest from SPD:

Seattle Police made an arrest this morning of a 30-year-old suspect wanted for the arson at Neighbours on January 1st.

This morning, Seattle Police arrested the 30-year-old man near Seattle as he was enroute to the airport. Detectives from our Arson/Bomb Squad, working along with members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), have been investigating this case since the early morning hours of January 1st. Detectives would like to thank the public for all the tips they have received on the person of interest. Following his arrest, the suspect was interviewed by detectives and later booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Arson.

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30 thoughts on “Police arrest Neighbours arson suspect on way to airport — UPDATE

    • Humph…meant to say, ^Thanks, but whatever…Pretty sure I’m not the only one to have mentioned not jumping to conclusions about anything. Now that he’s been captured we can figure the guy’s been being watched for a while by the authorities. Me? I’m totally cool with that.

  1. This jerk sounds like the epitome of a sociopath. I hope all of that violent history of his is taken into consideration when locking him up – hopefully for a very long time. Putting a cigarette out on somebody’s cheek? This guy won’t be satisfied until he kills innocent people. And if he’s not legal, deport him after he serves hard time.

    • “Masmari told the judge he intends to participate in a work-release program to allow him to keep his job at a gas station.”

      Work-release means he either sleeps at home or in the old jail on top the court house. He would be outside during his “working” hours. This not exactly locking him up.

    • “Masmari has had a US passport since at least 2010”. That suggests he has US citizenship. If he were not legal, he would not have a US passport.

  2. With the available information, I don’t know if this guy is mentally ill or just an out-of-control jerk….or perhaps a combination of the two. I’m pleased to hear of his arrest. If he is convicted of the arson crime, he will spend a very long time in jail, especially with his criminal history.

  3. They said he was on his way to the airport, but they didn’t necessarily say he was trying to fly off anywhere. If he was, it would be interesting to know where.

  4. I’m glad he’s been apprehended and I hope he’s not responsible, though I wouldn’t be surprised. He was a very nice guy but totally lost his shit this last spring/summer. Very sad if it spiraled into this, and I hope he gets the help he needs.

    • At this point, I doubt it matters to the investigators and prosecutors whether this particular suspect is the culprit or not. They’re reportedly working with “a joint terrorism task force.” So, very likely, federal staff are poring over all the unlawfully-collected evidence they have on him (as they have on all of us, since world enemy #1, the National Security Agency, treats everyone as guilty until proven innocent), reviewing what he has said and written, where he has been, and with whom he is associated, attempting to weave together sufficient evidence of *anything* that will lead him to plead guilty to the arson attempt in order to avoid the difficulty of a fair trial for whatever else they’re able to hold over his head.

      • Wow, Mocek. The guy is suspected of lighting a fire in a club packed with 750 people, potentially resulting in a huge loss of life. Thankfully Neighbours staff safely evacuated everyone. And here you are to defend the accused with nutty paranoia. I trust you’ll be camping out at his trial to protest his innocence. Nevermind the guy also has a case history as long as one of your Occupy manifestos.

      • What makes you think I’m defending him? I’m defending our system of justice, the idea that people should be treated as innocent until proven guilty as judged by a jury of their peers, and our protection from unwarranted search and seizure.

        Our peace officers have to work within the law, no matter how much we despise the actions of those we call upon them to investigate. If we don’t ensure that this guy is treated fairly, it’s likely that none of us will.

    • Right. Because in Libya he’s sure to get the mental help he needs, and is much less likely to get mixed up with any extremists who would ever be involved in any terrorist activities. Uh huh. Libya is the safest place for him.

    • i actually know this individual and he is a US citizen, so why should he be sent to Libya? If you were arrested should you be sent to the country that your parents, grandparents, etc. came from?

  5. He may be mentally ill, but the steps involved in this arson show a lot of advanced thought and planning. It is clear that he isn’t completely out of it and unaware of his surroundings.

  6. It is a good idea to keep in mind the unlimited funds and powers that our national security state has amassed.  We may end up grateful for simple villains and insane people like nightclub arsonists, compared to the “Joint Terrorism Task Force.” Now that the “JTTF” is involved, we may be in a hall of mirrors.

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  12. I happen to know this man. I worked with him when I lived in Seattle and he was my neighbor. He was very kind, nice to everyone, went out of his way often for the sake of others. No one ever knows the whole story unless you were the person involved. None of you know the story behind any of his “encounters”. Seattle a a dangerous place filled with shitty people and fights happen. As goes for the Arson, I really just cannot under any circumstances see him doing that. This man worked hard, worked on cars, played soccer with his friends and prayed 5 times a day no matter what. Always called to check in with his mother and was considerate to everyone. Maybe you should all watch your words when speaking about someone you do not know.