A man has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to Brooklyn nightclub Rash, following a blaze at the venue on April 3.
The Rash nightclub has been open since October of last year in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighbourhood. The club had become a popular destination for LGBTQ+ clubbers in the area.
The 24-year-old suspect of the attack, identified as John Lhota, was arrested on Wednesday, April 13. NYC Mayor Eric Adams confirmed the arrest in a statement on Twitter.
UPDATE: We can confirm that the @FDNY, @NYPDNews and federal partners have caught the suspect in this arson and brought them into custody.— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) April 14, 2022
We made a promise to our LGBTQ+ community and all communities to keep our city safe. We won't rest in making that a reality. https://t.co/0qVkPJUhfH
Lhota was reportedly seen leaving his apartment just a half-mile from Rash before purchasing and filling a red canister of gasoline, according to sources. Lhota then allegedly entered the club, poured gasoline on the floor, and set it on fire.
As the fire grew worse, members of the club were forced to flee the scene in a panic. A bartender and a DJ were reportedly injured in the fire, and both were taken to the hospital.
Lhota faces charges of strangulation, a felony, and misdemeanour assault and harassment in state court in Brooklyn in connection with the incident, court records show.
A Legal Aid Society lawyer representing him could not immediately be reached for comment by the New York Times.
You can read the press statement from Club Rash below.
In a statement provided to the New York Post, Jack Sillen, one of the club's owners, said management remains committed to restoring the club for their community, reinforcing that Rash will reopen "no matter how long it takes us."
Rash has launched a GoFundMe with a goal of $200,000 in order to support their staff, cover medical bills and to begin repairing the venue.
You can donate to Rash's GoFundMe here.
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter