Man Charged In Rash Bar Arson In Brooklyn

A 24-year-old man has been arrested and charged for the arson attempt at Rash Bar in Brooklyn on April 3, 2022
(screen captures via surveillance footage)

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.

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.

Related: 16-Year-Old Arrested In Connection To Threatening Phone Calls To Boston Gay Bars

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.