John Lhota, 24, has been charged in federal court for the April 3 arson of Rash Bar, a Brooklyn nightclub popular among LGBTQ New Yorkers.
NYPD is seeking help in identifying an arsonist who used gasoline to set a property on fire. Two people were injured in the arson attack on April 3 at the Rash Bar in Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/13RXRTg953
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) April 7, 2022
From the Washington Blade:
As set forth in the complaint, on the evening of April 3, 2022, Lhota was captured on security video purchasing a red gas canister at a service station and filling it with gasoline. Lhota then proceeded to Rash, located on the ground floor of a multi-story building at 941 Willoughby Avenue, where he allegedly poured gasoline over the floor of the bar.
The video showed Lhota tossing a lit cigarette on the floor, but the gasoline did not ignite. Lhota then used a cigarette lighter to ignite the gasoline, causing an explosion and a fire. The floors above Rash contain residential apartments. Firefighters responded to the location and extinguished the blaze.
Two employees of Rash were injured and required hospitalization. The building sustained heavy damage due to the fire. Security video captured Lhota fleeing the burning nightclub.
If convicted of the charges, Lhota faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment with a possible maximum of 40 years’ imprisonment.
A GoFundMe campaign has been setup to help employees affected by the fire and months of unemployment ahead as well as eventually repair the bar.
— world targets in megadeaths (@petesassafrasss) April 4, 2022
In Brooklyn… in 2022… someone walked into a gay bar and set it on fire. Please help if you can.
Rash Bar Fire – Staff, Medical & Restoration Fund https://t.co/Shs1sijX7N
— Thanks, I Hate It (@TIHIPodcast) April 7, 2022