Police identify mosque arson suspect - Albuquerque Journal

Police identify mosque arson suspect

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

A criminal complaint and arrest warrant affidavit identifies 43-year-old Isela Camarena as the person wanted for deliberately setting a fire at the base of one the doors to the Islamic Center of New Mexico late last month.

The document was filed in Metropolitan Court on Monday by an Albuquerque Police Department officer investigating the incident, which was captured on security cameras at the Islamic Center on Yale SE.

Isela Camarena

Police are searching for Camarena, who is facing charges of arson and negligent arson. It was unclear if she would additionally be charged with a hate crime, as mosque officials have requested.

According to the court document, a woman entered the grounds of the Islamic Center early Nov. 29 and, after unsuccessful attempts to gain access through locked building doors, she started a fire next to a door using combustible items from a trash receptacle. She also took some of the burning trash and set small fires in an outdoor playground area.

Neighbors who saw the smoke ran over and extinguished the fires before Albuquerque Fire Rescue arrived.

Mosque spokesman Tahir Gauba said the same woman entered the building prior to the start of Sunday school on Nov. 7 and unsuccessfully tried to start a carpet fire in the prayer hall. When a fire alarm was triggered, the woman ran out while allegedly yelling an anti-Islamic obscenity, he said.

Gauba said the same woman also entered the building during the evening of Oct. 31, where she confronted the imam, Mahmoud Eldenawi, and threatened to burn down the mosque.

The APD and FBI previously released to the public images of the suspect from the mosque’s security cameras.

A relative of Camarena contacted authorities, was shown security camera images and positively identified her, the court document said.

Damage to the property includes $9,000 to replace the artificial playground turf, Gauba said, and between $3,000 and $5,000 to clean the brick, cement and other areas charred by the fire, and where burning material had melted into the surface.

The center expects to spend an additional $20,000 or more to update its security gate, motion sensors and camera system, he said.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Former lobbyist finds new calling in cannabis
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque man gives up $90,000 salary ... Albuquerque man gives up $90,000 salary for local budding industry
2
Are 4-day work weeks feasible? Business leaders weigh in
ABQnews Seeker
The concept and feasibility of four-day ... The concept and feasibility of four-day work weeks has been discussed in recent weeks, but it' ...
3
New Mexico front and center in nationwide debate over ...
ABQnews Seeker
Taken together, two forthcoming bills would ... Taken together, two forthcoming bills would create a suite of government-funded incentives to help companies construct everything from hydrogen production and hydrogen-based electric generation ...
4
IRS needs auditing power to close the ‘tax gap’
ABQnews Seeker
Courts have blocked Treasury from overseeing ... Courts have blocked Treasury from overseeing returns
5
Vintage meets sustainable at new Albuquerque boutique
ABQnews Seeker
Owner Vanessa Dagavarian said she started ... Owner Vanessa Dagavarian said she started thrifting vintage clothing as a teenager, but the idea to open her own vintage store didn't come to ...
6
At 470 killed, traffic deaths return to the bad ...
ABQnews Seeker
Pedestrian death tally reached 99, breaking ... Pedestrian death tally reached 99, breaking record set back in '94
7
Natural resource agencies request funding boosts
ABQnews Seeker
Climate change bureau would tackle emissions Climate change bureau would tackle emissions
8
Justice, sort of, is coming after deadly crash
ABQnews Seeker
Woman expected to accept plea agreement ... Woman expected to accept plea agreement over tragic incident
9
University of Va. holds largest collection of cartoonist's art
ABQnews Seeker
School's library gifted almost 7,000 pieces ... School's library gifted almost 7,000 pieces of artist's works