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Woman charged for setting multiple fires at St. Kate's

The woman told police she would've bombed the school if she could have.
Credit: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
Tnuza Jamal Hassan

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A woman who intentionally set a series of fires this week in multiple buildings at St. Kate's University is now charged with first-degree arson.

According to the criminal charges, Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, of Minneapolis admitted to investigators she wanted "the school to burn to the ground" and intended to hurt people in the process.

At least six different fires were set throughout the university on Wednesday, including one in a residence hall that was next to the on-campus daycare.

At the time of the fire, there were 33 children present at the daycare and eight adults. Thankfully, that fire was contained after the sprinkler system was activated.

Another fire was located in a women's bathroom at Butler Hall. Campus surveillance video showed a woman entering St. Mary's hall, carrying a plastic shopping bag, just before that fire began.

Police located the shopping bag seen in the video and found a box of matches inside.

Fires were also found in Coeur de Catherine, Derham Hall, the Chapel and Fontbonne.

Authorities identified the suspect as Hassan, a former student at St. Kate's, and arrested her without incident.

During an interview with police she admitted to the fires saying she had been reading about the U.S. military destroying schools in Iraq or Afghanistan and "felt that she should do exactly the same thing," according to the complaint.

She said she was not as successful as she was hoping to be but felt the most success from a fire she set at St. Mary's, where she lit a couch on fire.

Charges say Hassan wanted to torch the entire school, adding that no one cares when it happens in "Muslim land" so why not do this. She also said, "You guys are lucky that I don't know how to build a bomb because I would have done that."

Hassan wrote a letter, which contained radical ideas, to her roommates who then turned it over to campus security.

Hassan faces a maximum sentence of 20 years or a $20,000 fine, or both, if convicted.