HOUSTON (FOX 26) - According to court documents, 37-year-old Gary Nathaniel Moore was captured on two surveillance cameras near the southwest Houston mosque at the time the fire broke out.
“Certainly video evidence played a key role in getting us to where we are today,” said ATF special agent in charge Robert Elder.
Court documents state when a search warrant was executed at Moore’s house, authorities recovered a back pack and clothing that matched what Moore had on in the surveillance camera's footage.
“In a voluntary interview, he stated that he was a member of the mosque,” Elder said. “He stated that he prayed at the mosque five times a day, seven days a week.”
Investigators say they don’t know Moore’s motive, but say this was not a hate crime.
“I don’t want to say you rule it out completely,” Elder said. “But certainly we don’t have enough to pursue a charge.”
“He was a regular over there,” said Nizar Charania a friend of Moore’s.
He was one of a group of friends we found at Moore’s house on Wednesday. They say they were surprised to hear about Moore’s arrest.
“We still don’t believe that he can do like this,” Charania said.
Houston’s Muslim community was relieved to hear that an arrest was made in the case.
“But also a little bit dismay because the person they arrested was a member of the mosque so that is depressing,” said Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of CAIR Houson.
Moore’s arson charge isn’t his first run in with the law. Investigators say he’s a convicted felon but they offered no specifics about his criminal history.