Kalvinn Garcia, 25, of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, admitted to committing a hate crime because seeing the word “queer” angered him.
He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for starting a fire outside an LGBTQ+ nightclub named Queer/Bar in Seattle, according to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
Garcia was arrested within minutes of doing so on 24 February, 2020 and he reportedly told law enforcers that seeing the word motivated him to target the venue.
“I think it’s wrong that we have a bunch of queers in our society,” he is said to have told officers.
“The defendant targeted the patrons inside Queer/Bar, a known safe space for the LGBTQI+ community,” explained Assistant Attorney General Clarke.
“Hate crimes have no place in our society today and we stand ready to use our federal civil rights laws to hold perpetrators accountable. All people deserve to feel safe and secure living in their communities, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The DOJ stated that a few weeks after committing the crime, Garcia told a stranger that he wanted to hurt the people inside the venue.
U.S. Attorney Brown added: “Garcia endangered countless people who he did not know and who were simply trying to live their lives, solely because of his own hatred.
“We must stand up to this hate at every opportunity, to demonstrate to our community that acting on hate will not be tolerated.”
Garcia has pleaded guilty to the crime, a 26 May press release from the DOG stated.
The case was investigated by the GBI and the Seattle Police Department and is now being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Cohen and Trial Attorney Angie Cha of the Civil Rights Division.