CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte authorities say they arrested a black man Sunday in what they’ve described as a racially tinged arson attack on an immigrant-owned store specializing in goods from the Indian subcontinent.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a statement that 32-year-old Curtis Flournoy has been charged with multiple counts including ethnic intimidation and burning a commercial building.
Authorities said previously that someone set a fire Thursday at the Central Market that burned itself out. According to police, a window was broken with a rock, and a threatening note at the scene was signed “White America.”
Authorities said the note complained about refugee business owners. A police news release said the note “stated the suspect did not want any refugee business owners and that they would torture the owner if they did not leave and go back to where they came from.”
No one was injured.
The store’s owner, Kamal Dhimel, previously lived in Nepal and Bhutan before coming to the U.S. in 2010. The storet hat he started in 2014 sells goods from Nepal, India and Pakistan among other countries.
He told The Charlotte Observer last week that he hadn’t faced anti-immigrant attitudes in the U.S. before now.
The police statement on Sunday didn’t offer any further details about the incident.
Online jail records didn’t say whether Flournoy had an attorney. A phone listing for him was disconnected.