MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – Deputies are looking for a suspect, who threw a Molotov cocktail at a Buddhist temple in New Caney in Montgomery County and started a fire, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities are treating this as an arson case. Deputies were dispatched around 9:50 p.m. to the 17000 block of FM 1485 to the Huyen Trang Temple due to an arson incident.
When the MCSO arrived, they learned that a man walked up to the temple and threw a Molotov cocktail, or a container full of gasoline and lit wicking material into a window in the building.
A surveillance camera from the Buddhist Meditation Centre in New Caney caught the man walking on the property, he rips the screen off a window and throws a Molotov cocktail inside of the temple where a monk was sleeping.
“I’m very scared. I cannot sleep at night,” Nguyen said.
Susan Nguyen is a Suco and serves as the priest of the temple. She’s all about peace and helping others but now she’s trying to figure out why someone wanted to burn down her temple.
“I wonder many times. I don’t know why he did this,” she said.
The monk who was inside the meditation room sleeping, jumped out of bed and ran over to the fire. He grabbed a bag and tried putting out the blaze. Then he picked up a rug and tossed it on the flames. The monk picks up the rug again, and a man comes from a room with a fire extinguisher.
“I heard them trying to put out the fire. I opened the door and saw smoke, fire. I’m very scared so I called 911,” Nguyen said.
The Suco believes the incident from Sunday night is connected to her home that caught on fire about a year ago. Investigators told her it was an electrical fire, but she believes the same man may have had something to do with it.
“Last year, it happened on October 30. This year, it happened on November 5th. Only five days later. I lost everything inside. I had no insurance prior and my car I lost it too,” she said.
Montgomery County officials and the FBI are investigating. The Suco believes it’s a hate crime and wants to know why someone tried to burn down her temple.
“I would ask him, ‘Why do you not like me? I will correct it myself and I will correct what I have done wrong,” the Suco said.
See video of the man who threw the Molotov cocktail below.
The investigation is still ongoing. Authorities do not know the motive behind the incident.
“The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and The Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office take this case seriously. Religious freedom and the safety of all the citizens of Montgomery County, regardless of religious affiliation, is something both agencies are sworn to protect. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in our county,” the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies said they know this incident may cause people to worry, but they reminded the community they are working to resolve this case.
If you have any information about this situation, you should call 936-760-5800, use option three, and refer to case number 23S000489, or to remain anonymous, contact Multi-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-7867.
“As a community, we stand united against any act threatening the peace and harmony we cherish. We firmly believe in upholding the religious freedoms of our citizens, and we will continue to protect and respect these fundamental rights,” Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson said.