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A 25-year-old Sedro Woolley man pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of committing a hate crime in the February 24, 2020, arson at a Capitol Hill nightclub.
The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Nick Brown, and FBI Seattle Field Office special agent in charge Donald M. Voiret.
According to documents, Kalvinn Garcia set fire to a dumpster behind Queer/Bar in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
He was arrested minutes later.
Garcia admitted to law enforcement that he set the fire because he was angry to see a sign that said “queer,” and also told officers, “I think it’s wrong that we have a bunch of queers in our society.”
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According to documents, weeks after the incident, Garcia told someone that his intent was to trap and hurt people inside the nightclub.
Garcia faces a maximum of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced September 20.
“The defendant targeted the patrons inside Queer/Bar, a known safe space for the LGBTQI+ community,” Assistant Attorney General Clarke said in a news release. “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.”