Home / National News / Florida Mosque Fire Suspect Appears in Court, Is Denied Bail


(ORLANDO, Fla.) — A Florida man arrested for allegedly setting fire to a mosque attended by the Orlando nightclub shooter was denied bail during a court appearance made during via video conference from the St. Lucie County Jail where the suspect is being held.

The judge denied bail to Joseph Michael Schreiber, 32, of Port St. Lucie.

The judge also asked Schreiber if he could afford a lawyer, to which Schreiber replied “Absolutely not.”

Schreiber was arrested Wednesday for allegedly setting fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce on Sunday night. Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen and his family attended the mosque, and authorities said they believe the fire was deliberately set and was a hate crime.

The St. Lucie Sheriff’s Office arrested Schreiber Wednesday after receiving multiple tips, according to Maj. Dave Thompson of the sheriff’s office.

Thompson added that they found a motorcycle at Schreiber’s home that was consistent with the one seen in surveillance video from the night of the mosque fire.

Schreiber was charged with second-degree felony arson, and authorities will apply Florida’s hate crime enhancement to the charge, which will enhance the second-degree felony charge to a first-degree felony and will carry up to a possible 30-year prison sentence.

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