Man suspected in Bellevue arson had run-in at mosque last summer

Jan 15, 2017, 8:47 AM | Updated: 12:02 pm

BELLEVUE, Wash. – This is how the fire looked and sounded from Ahmed Ali’s apartment, flames racing through the Islamic Center of the Eastside.

“When I see the flames,” Ali said. “I was kind of nervous. What I’m going to do? Because I got two kids.”

Bellevue police say they spotted a man lying in the parking lot on the north side of the mosque, even as it burned, and questioned him.

“The suspect, Mr. Isaac Wayne Wilson, a 37-year-old male, was taken into custody for investigation for second-degree arson,” said Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett.

Mylett, flanked by the mosque’s longtime imam, spoke at a rare Saturday afternoon news conference at Bellevue City Hall.  He cut short his Texas vacation to announce the arrest.

“Chief, had the police ever been called because of any activity by Mr. Wilson?” Mylett was asked.

“Yes,” said Mylett. “And in fact, we made an arrest when Mr. Wilson had created a disturbance at the mosque.”

That was back in July.

“And what happened as a result of that?” he was asked.

“He pled guilty,” Mylett said. “My understanding is he pled guilty and was placed on probation.”

Meanwhile, the mosque’s worshipers held prayer services at the Highland Park Community Center.

And members of the community came out to express their concern.

“If we don’t stand up and show that we’re standing with the people that are being discriminated against,” said Suzy LePeintre, a bouquet of flowers in her arm. “Then there’s no safety for anybody.”

Just three days ago, a warrant was issued for Wilson’s arrest in an unrelated case.  He was wanted for allegedly vandalizing Niketown in downtown Seattle last summer.

According to court documents, he told the officers he is schizophrenic and wanted to go to jail.

He could be charged Tuesday in this Bellevue arson case.

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Man suspected in Bellevue arson had run-in at mosque last summer