An indictment unsealed yesterday in Brooklyn federal court charges Ray Lazier Lengend, also known as 'Suraj Poonai', with hate crimes and explosives offenses stemming from his racially and religiously motivated fire-bombings of the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation mosque and a Hindu temple housed in a private residence in Queens on Jan 1, 2012, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch said in a statement here.
Lengend is also charged with an explosives offense in connection with his fire-bombing of a convenience store in Queens. He will be arraigned on Mar 26 before US Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes. If convicted Lengend faces a minimum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life. Lengend's fire-bombing spree began on the evening of Jan 1 when he threw a flaming bottle filled with gasoline at a local convenience store. A store employee extinguished the flames and no one was hurt in the incident.
Lengend's next target was a private residence, which caught fire when he hurled molotov cocktails at the building. He later went to the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation mosque, where he threw glass bottles containing gasoline at the building with the goal of inflicting damage on the mosque and harming Muslims and Arabs.
Lengend's final fire-bombing in Queens targeted the Hindu temple, located inside the residence of the temple's leader. Lengend was arrested within two days of the attacks.