PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A 64-year-old Fort Pierce man who wanted to “run the Arabs out of of our country” remains jailed Saturday on $30,000 bail, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.
Richard Leslie Lloyd was arrested Friday after he tried to set fire to a Port St. Lucie convenience store, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said. Lloyd reportedly told investigators he assumed the owner of the convenience store was Muslim and it made him mad “due to what they are doing in the Middle East.”
He was taken into custody after investigators responded shortly after 7:30 a.m. to reports of a suspicious person at the Met Mart convenience store. Deputies arrived to find that a dumpster had been rolled in front of the doors on the convenience store and set on fire.
Upon seeing deputies, Lloyd put his hands behind his back and said “take me away,” Sheriff Ken Mascara said. The St. Lucie County Fire District extinguished the fire. The store was not open and its security shutters were closed and intact.
“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Lloyd made the assumption that the store owners were Muslim when, in fact, they are of Indian descent,” Mascara said. “Regardless, we will not tolerate violence based on age, race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, mental or physical disability.”
Mascara said Lloyd will undergo a mental-health evaluation and the state attorney’s office will determine whether the act was an intentional hate crime.
Lloyd is charged with first-degree arson.