Man accused of burning down Victoria mosque indicted for hate crime

The Victoria Islamic Center was destroyed by an early morning fire on Jan. 28, 2017. (Victoria Islamic Center Photo via Facebook)
The Victoria Islamic Center was destroyed by an early morning fire on Jan. 28, 2017. (Victoria Islamic Center Photo via Facebook)

VICTORIA, Texas (AP) — A man has been indicted on a hate crime charge for a January fire that destroyed a Texas mosque.

A grand jury Thursday indicted Marq Vincent Perez, who federal prosecutors say started a Jan. 28 fire that destroyed the Islamic center in his hometown of Victoria, located 125 miles southwest of Houston.

Perez faces three counts: hate crime-damage to a religious property, use of a fire to commit a federal felony and possession of an unregistered destructive device.

During a court hearing in March on an unrelated charge, prosecutors alleged Perez believed the mosque’s worshippers were terrorists and may have been looking for other mosques to target.

Perez’s attorney didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.

Perez was already being held without bond on the unrelated charge.

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