Firefighters battle a blaze at the Islamic Center of Eastside on March 21 in Bellevue. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Fire Department

Firefighters battle a blaze at the Islamic Center of Eastside on March 21 in Bellevue. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Fire Department

Suspect in Bellevue mosque arson pleads not guilty

Police believe the suspect started the fire by lighting a mound of toilet paper.

The 18-year-old man suspected of burning down the Islamic Center of Eastside in March pleaded not guilty to the crime on April 12, the King County Prosecutor’s Office reported.

Carlos Daniel Diaz-Cruz of Bellevue faces one count of first-degree arson after Bellevue police arrested him for allegedly starting a fire at the Bellevue mosque, located at 14230 NE 21st St., on March 21. They believe he started the fire by lighting a pile of toilet paper on fire with a cigarette lighter.

The building had been vacant since Jan. 14, 2017 when it was first set on fire. Isaac Wayne Wilson, 37, pleaded guilty last year to reckless burning in that case.

Police believe Diaz-Cruz and friends were hanging out in the abandoned building when the suspect allegedly began vandalizing the building and stacking toilet paper in the middle of the downstairs room.

Charging documents state his friends tried to tell him to stop, but the suspect continuously lit the tissue on fire until it inflamed, causing the young men to flee the area.

Police were able to identify the teens from video surveillance and with the help of Bellevue School District personnel.

When investigators searched the building, they found mattresses, graffiti and garbage inside, as though the building had been in use for some time prior to the fire.

More in News

KCSO found all but one of the 108 allegations of excessive or unnecessary use of force were justified

The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight has released its annual 2018 report.

Report: Only one use of excessive force upheld by Sheriff’s investigations in 2018

The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight has released its annual 2018 report.

Council checks in on status of proposed Sambica Activity Center rezone

The application for the rezoning was filed on Feb. 25.

Bellevue PD increases emphasis on child sex predators

Police say the number of crime-related tips have prompted the focus.

Bellevue suspect found dead in Seattle apartment

Police say Adam Gua died of a self-inflicted gunshot.

Eastside Pathways releases community report

The report was released late last month by the nonprofit.

The King County Courthouse. File photo
King County set to bring in tax-free housing funding

It’s set to reap $100 million over the next 20 years from state coffers.

Attendees take a closer look at the new Eastrail logo and tagline, “Let’s Connect” on July 20 in Redmond. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
East Rail Corridor is now Eastrail

Eastrail will be an uninterrupted 42-mile trail connected to Link light rail opening on the Eastside in 2023.

Most Read