A Muslim man formerly from Bellevue, Wash., who told a friend he thought "that homosexuals should be exterminated" pleaded guilty Friday to charges he firebombed a gay nightclub in the city on New Year's Day.
Search warrant documents filed in King County Superior Court say the friend, who also is a Muslim, went straight to the FBI because he thought he might be "be planning some terrorist activity."
Musab Mohammed Masmari, brought a one gallon tank of gas hidden inside a shopping bag into a Seattle gay nightclub around 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 while approximately 750 people celebrated inside.
Masmari poured the gasoline on a carpeted staircase in the club just after midnight while hiding the container holding the rest of the gasoline behind a planter. He then lit the gas and ran away from the club, prosecutors said.
No one was injured in the firebombing. Two U.S. military personnel who were at the club put out the fire and the club's sprinkler system activated.
Law enforcement identified Masmari was identified from surveillance videos. He was arrested on Feb. 1 as he was on his way to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to board a flight out of the country to Turkey.
"Exterminate is a word you think of – you exterminate rodents, you exterminate roaches, not people," said Shaun Knittel, spokesperson for Neighbours nightclub, told Seattle's KIRO TV.
Masmari initially was charged with arson, but federal authorities took over the case after determining the attack was motivated by hate and the desire to commit terrorist acts.
Masmari faces a five-year prison sentence under terms of his plea agreement. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 31. The federal judge, however, is not bound by the agreement and could give him up to 20 years in prison.