Florida Man Arrested For Allegedly Burning Building During Riot

July 13, 2020 Updated: July 13, 2020

A 20-year-old man was arrested after investigators said he was captured on video setting fire to a business during riots in Florida.

Terrance Lee Hester Jr. was one of many who participated in looting in Tampa overnight on May 30 after a peaceful protest “devolved into widespread civil unrest,” according to a criminal complaint released Monday.

Dozens of people illegally broke into stores along Fowler Avenue and stole items. At one point, some people set a Champs store on fire. The flames engulfed the business. The estimated cost of the looting and fires in the shopping plaza was $1.25 million.

Investigators reviewed video footage from surveillance cameras and social media and showed an individual hurling a flaming object into the store through a broken window.

The person was described as a black male with longer dreadlock-style hair and a slim build, wearing blue jeans and no shirt. He was later identified as Hester.

The man was also present while looting occurred at another business in Tampa, Charlie’s Market, located about four miles from Champs. Investigators said another black male participating in the riots is a close relative of the accused.

Hester, who surrendered to authorities in New York state, is one of over 150 people arrested for participating in riots and looting that started in late May after George Floyd, a black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

Dozens were arrested after the rioting in Tampa.

“What a disgrace that had nothing to do with Mr. Floyd. Every American citizen should be outraged by that video,” Hillsborough Circuit Judge Catherine Catlin told defendants in court, referring to footage showing the looting.

“Every decent American believes that Mr. Floyd should not be dead, but there’s no excuse for criminal activity,” she added.

Authorities are still tracking down others who were involved in the mayhem.

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