Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, of Minneapolis, was arrested this week after starting six to eight fires at St. Catherine University in Minneapolis.
Hassan told police, “You guys are lucky that l don’t know how to build a bomb because l would have done that.”
Hassan set one fire at Saint Mary Hall, a dormitory and day care center.
A former St. Catherine University student charged with setting fires on the college’s St. Paul campus told police she did it because she’d “been reading about the U.S. military destroying schools in Iraq or Afghanistan and she felt that she should do exactly the same thing,” according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.
“You guys are lucky that l don’t know how to build a bomb because l would have done that,” Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, of Minneapolis allegedly told investigators after being arrested Wednesday afternoon in a campus dorm lounge…
…A woman who identified herself as Hassan’s older sister — in tears outside Hassan’s first court hearing Friday — declined comment. In addition to the sister, Hassan has a mother in the area, who could not be reached for comment.
Patrick Nwaneri, an attorney retained by Hassan’s family, declined to comment on the charge but said it came as a “big shock” to the family, adding, “They are just at a loss.”
Hassan, appearing in court in a black and white hijab, gave only brief, one-word answers to questions from the judge.
According to the complaint, she told investigators she set six fires on the private Catholic university’s campus, though university and fire officials said there were eight.
The most serious fire started in Saint Mary Hall, a residential dormitory that also houses a day care. Police said there were 33 children and eight adults in the building when a chair was set ablaze — triggering the building’s sprinkler system, which prevented it from spreading.
A second fire was set at the Butler Center fitness facility in a women’s bathroom.
Police reviewed surveillance footage and saw a woman — later identified as Hassan — entering both halls just before the sprinklers activated. She was carrying a plastic shopping bag, which police later recovered. It contained a box of matches.