Funds being sought for Charlotte store owner hit by hate crime, arson


As police continued this weekend to investigate a hate crime and arson at an east Charlotte store, some in the community are trying to raise money for the shop owner to repair his business.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are still looking for a man who set fire to a store in east Charlotte and left behind a racist note for the store’s owner.

The man threw a rock into Central Market and started a fire at the door. He left behind a note demanding immigrants move away, threatening to torture immigrants and refugees, and signed it “White America.”

Police are investigating the incident as arson and a hate crime against the store’s owner, Kamal Dhimel, a refugee from Bhutan.

The man suspected of the hate crime was seen in the surveillance footage wearing a gray hoodie under a black coat, with light jeans and black shoes. Police described him as black, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and 200 pounds. He also has a short afro and a goatee, police said.

Authorities did not provide any updates to the case on Saturday.

A person set up a GoFundMe page Saturday, seeking to raise $2,500 for Dhimel to repair his store.

“Let’s show Mr. Dhimel what this country TRULY thinks of its immigrants,” Erik Hovind of Charlotte, the page’s creator, said in the description.

LaVendrick Smith; 704-358-5101; @LaVendrickS