HOUSTON, TX - From the very beginning, experts suspected arson was the cause of the Christmas day fire that destroyed a Mosque on Houston's southwest side. Now it is much more than a hunch. But it is who is behind bars that's a big surprise.
The suspect, 37-year-old Gary Nathaniel Moore was a member of the Savoy Masjid Mosque for about five years. According to the charging documents, he attended prayer services almost daily.
Tonight he's in the Harris County Jail facing felony arson charges. His bond has been set at 10 thousand dollars.
One local member of the Muslim community, Manzoor Memon, says we should not judge all Muslims based on the actions of a few. "There are some people who are misguided in our religion and there are some misguided in other religions."
Because a religious structure was the target, a joint task force made up of the Houston Arson Bureau, the Houston Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been investigating. Houston Mayor Annise Parker praised all three agencies for working swiftly, saying, "It was an excellent example of inter-agency cooperation."
Fortunately, no one was injured in last week's fire and federal investigators say there's no evidence that points to a hate crime. But, they don't have a reason, either. "There`s no motive that's clear to us right now. There's nothing that's been revealed," says Ruben Hernandez, Chief Arson Investigator.
While authorities have the "what," and possibly the "who" figured out. They are still searching for the "why."