Police in Phoenix have released video of a man believed to be behind what authorities have now described as an arson at a local LGBTQ youth center.
In CCTV footage taken on July 12, the man—identified by officials as 26-year-old Darren William Beach Jr.—can be seen approaching the One.n.Ten youth center, pouring a liquid on the floor of the building, and leaving just moments before the center burst into flames. The newly released footage has officials asking for the public’s help in capturing a suspected arsonist.
“Early indications are that, yes, this was gasoline,” Phoenix fire captain Rob McDade explained to 3TV/CBS5. “We have every reason to believe that person lit a match after that.”
News that their recent loss was likely deliberate came as a shock to the One.n.Ten staff.
“It’s one thing to have a fire,” One.n.Ten Executive Director Linda Elliott told AZCentral.com. “But it’s a lot more traumatizing to have an arson.”
In a note posted on the One.n.Ten website, the organization says that Beach Jr.—although not referred to by name—had been a participant in the group’s programming on and off since 2013, before aging out in 2016 after turning 25.
“We had no warning signs from him throughout his time with us,” the group writes. “There was nothing to let on that he had anything against our organization.”
While no one was injured, One.n.Ten reportedly lost electronics, food, and other equipment in the fire—losses that quickly prompted action from the local community.
“It’s just been an incredible response from the community,” Ellion said. “From the next day until today, people have just been streaming in here, making donations, bringing supplies, buying things.”
On their website, the group describes itself as “a safe space, mentally and physically, for youth of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds” within the LGBTQ community.