October 5, 2023
Man Responsible for Arson at Seattle Gay Bar Sentenced to 4 Years
Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.
A federal court has convicted a man of a hate crime and sentenced him to four years in prison in connection to an arson at an LGBTQ+ bar in Seattle.
As reported by KIRO 7, Kalvinn Garcia, 26, pleaded guilty for setting a dumpster on fire behind Queer/Bar in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood in February 2020. He admitted to police that the fire was a targeted attack against LGBTQ+ people and his intention was to "trap and hurt the people inside."
He also reportedly told officers, "I think it's wrong that we have a bunch of queers in our society."
"A few weeks after the incident, Garcia told a stranger that his intent in setting the fire was to trap and hurt the people inside. Garcia admitted that, through the use of fire, he willfully attempted to cause bodily injury to the occupants of Queer/Bar because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity," reads the report from U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington.
"Bias-motivated violence runs contrary to our values and violates our federal civil rights laws," said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke in a news release. "This sentence should send the message that every person in our nation deserves equal protection under the law regardless of who they love or how they identify, and that those carrying out similar acts of violence against the LGBTQI+ community will be brought to justice."
At the sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour added that the "potential for panic and trampling and death is incredible."
Although it is unclear whether Garcia suffers from mental illness, Judge Coughenour added, "Hate is hate, whether it is impacted by mental health or not."