Man arrested in connection with hate crime, arson at Charlotte’s Central Market

Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office
Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office

Charlotte police have arrested a 32-year-old man in connection with the hate crime and arson at an east Charlotte store last week.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said detectives received information that assisted them in identifying Curtis Flournoy as the suspect. He was arrested Sunday morning.

Police said Flournoy threw a rock through a window at Central Market and started a fire at the door last Thursday. Flournoy left behind a note demanding immigrants move away, threatening to torture immigrants and refugees, and signed it “White America,” police said.

Police called the incident arson and a hate crime against the store’s owner, Kamal Dhimel, a refugee from Bhutan. Members of the community set up a GoFundMe page Saturday, seeking to raise $2,500 for Dhimel to repair his store.

Central Market is a Nepali Indian store that sells fast food, groceries and gifts, mostly from the Indian subcontinent (Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Bhutan).

Flournoy was charged with burning a building of trade, malicious damage by use of an incendiary material, felony breaking and entering, ethnic intimidation and anonymous or threatening letters.