Suspect Identified Following Multiple Fires on St. Catherine Campus

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 20, 2018

Hassan told investigators she was a student at St. Catherine but dropped out last fall because she and her family were planning a vacation to Ethiopia.

According to a complaint charing her with one count of felony first-degree arson filed with the Rasmey County District Court, "Hassan said she started the fires because she's been reading about the USA military destroying schools in Iraq and Afghanistan and she felt that she should do exactly the same thing". Nobody was injured and damage was limited to furnishings, the school said in a statement. She was taken into custody on campus January 17 within three hours of the first fire. According to the charges, "she wanted to burn the school to the ground and that her intent was to hurt people".

The woman's family declined to publicly comment on Hassan's actions, with the family's lawyer, Patrick Nwaneri, relaying that the daughter's arrest came as a "big shock", and that the family, 'were at loss'.

It remains unclear if Hassan will now also face Federal charges....

Another fire was located in a women's bathroom at Butler Hall. A sprinkler system prevented the dormitory fire from spreading beyond a chair to the day care center, where 33 children and eight adults were present.

Hassan told law enforcement that she penned her roommates a letter on "bringing back the Caliphate", the Star-Tribune reports - alarming the roommates, who passed the letter on to the university, according to the criminal complaint. The letter scared Hassan's roommates, who turned it over to campus security, the complaint stated.

An FBI spokesman said he couldn't comment on whether or not the bureau is investigating.

To date, authorities did not say what specific allegiances or connections the former student may have had, locally or overseas, and to what degree she sought to impart a political operative resistance to controversial overseas, United States activities.

No injuries were reported, according to the university, which believes the acts were an isolated incident.

"In addition to my sadness, I have a tremendous amount of gratitude knowing that all of our students, faculty, staff, and other community members are safe", said President Becky Roloff in the statement. "As such, we strongly believe that one person does not represent an entire group, and we deeply value all Muslim members of our community". She remained in custody Friday at the Ramsey County Jail, with bail set at $100,000. She has not yet entered a plea.

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