The 20-year-old man accused of starting a fire that left 130 Charlotteans homeless this week is an undocumented immigrant and will likely be deported no matter the outcome of his trial for arson and attempted murder.
Jesus Reyes Lopez is a Mexican citizen and is wanted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for being in the country illegally, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office said. That means he will face deportation at the end of any prison sentence imposed by the courts over the apartment fire.
If he is found innocent of all charges, Lopez will immediately be taken into custody by ICE agents for deportation.
Lopez was arrested Thursday in connection with the fire, and faces two counts of attempted murder, arson and damage to property by use of an incendiary device charges. He made his first court appearance Thursday and was appointed an attorney. His bond hearing will be Aug. 2, court officials said.
Police believe Lopez intentionally set the fire Monday morning at the Woodscape apartments on Farm Pond Lane. Fire investigators say 40 apartments were damaged by the fire, which left 130 people homeless.
Sources told TV station WSOC that Lopez was targeting an ex-girlfriend as an act of revenge and that the fire got out of control.
The Red Cross is working to find housing for the 130 people displaced by the fire. As of Thursday, none had found a new place to live, agency officials said. The Red Cross is coordinating a community effort to find new homes for the families. Until then, many are staying at a Red Cross shelter or in the homes of friends and family.
The fire, first reported at 12:56 a.m. Monday, caused $1.3 million in damage.
Seven people were hospitalized after trying to escape the fire. Some families even jumped out of windows from second and third floor units to avoid the flames.
Charlotte is run by
idiots democrats who have made it a “sanctuary city”…(safe for illegal invaders, not so safe if you’re an American citizen)…
In May, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department issued a directive that stated its officers will not enforce federal immigration law. A month later, the City Council unanimously passed a wide-ranging civil rights resolution that reinforced that order. The resolution included a prohibition in most cases of police asking people about their immigration status.
CMPD said it wants people to report crime or act as witnesses, and that fear of deportation would discourage people from coming forward. Former police chief Rodney Monroe said the city isn’t responsible for enforcing immigration law, just as its officers don’t investigate people who cheat on their federal income taxes.
During the course of an investigation, an officer might be told or learn a person is in the country illegally. CMPD’s position was to not report them to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The police said they would check a person’s immigration status if a suspect could be involved with terrorism or a criminal street gang.
Durham and Chapel Hill have similar policies.