According to police, 23-year-old Muslim, Nasradin Abdusamad Ali, who entered the Langara College campus just before noon with multiple “incendiary devices,” allegedly using them to light “one or more fires” at the school before fleeing, has been charged with one count of “arson” related to inhabited property and one count of possession of incendiary material. No mention yet by police of possible Islamic terrorism motive.
Global News (h/t Richard S) Langara College confirmed Tuesday that Ali was a current student who had been attending the institution for two years.
Court records show Ali also faced charges of theft under $5,000 and uttering threats relating to an incident in Vancouver on Jan. 31, 2018, but those charges were stayed in August.
Police would not comment specifically on a motive, but Postmedia has learned Ali had an “altercation” with another student in the past. “We are looking into all the evidence we’ve been able to collect so far,” Doucette said. “Motive will play a huge role in this file, obviously. We are looking into whether or not there was some flags, was there anything we could have done to help prepare for this.”
Prosecution Services spokesperson Alisia Adams refused to comment, saying that to get questions answered Postmedia would have to file a freedom of information request.
Investigators allege Ali entered the building with multiple improvised incendiary devices, at least two of which were detonated and caused fires before he fled the area.
The incident prompted a massive response, with heavily armed members of the Vancouver police Emergency Response Team helping to evacuate students and search the campus for suspicious items.
“It was flammable materials, at least one of them did have some sort of device attached to it as an ignition,” said Const. Jason Doucette. “Two of those went off prior to the police arriving. We located at least one more device and our bomb disposal unit neutralized that at the scene.
An instructor from the T Building, who couldn’t provide his name because the school has forbidden staff from speaking, said he saw “flames about four feet high” and he could smell the gasoline that others had reported smelling.
Officials with the school won’t say whether Ali had any ongoing disputes with other students or staff, but sources tell Global News he may have sent taunting messages to the school following the fire.