Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

L.A. arson suspect had recently 'made a scene' in immigration court

Immigration officials have yet to release more details, but police in Los Angeles are saying that Harry Burkhart, the 24-year-old man arrested on suspicion of a long string of arsons in the city throughout the weekend, recently became upset in immigration court over his mother's deportation case.

Police told the Los Angeles Times last night that the suspect, who is a German national, had "recently made a scene at a Los Angeles immigration court hearing," and that someone involved in that hearing had recognized him after police released a surveillance tape. From the story:

Police later said Burkhart was actually a 24-year-old German national who carried travel papers from Chechnya. He had spent time in Germany, they said, but had lived in Southern California for the last several years. They weren't clear on his alleged motives but speculated that he might have been furious over his mother's pending deportation.

A senior LAPD official said the suspect had attended a recent immigration hearing regarding his mother's case and erupted in a tirade, spewing angry anti-American statements.

It was this incident that eventually led police to Burkhart. Several sources said the tip came from an official at the State Department.

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