CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Police in east Charlotte are actively searching for a man accused of lighting an arson fire and leaving behind a disturbing note.
Investigators tell NBC Charlotte the incident is being investigated as a hate crime. The letter threatened to torture the refugee business owner of Central Market on Albemarle Road.
Police say the letter was signed "White America," but the suspect is a black man.
The fire at the front door eventually burned itself out, but the letter is still fanning the flames. It references President Trump, then goes on to threaten the store owner with torture if he doesn't "go back where he came from."
"Scared for my life because the letter shows that warning," says Kamal Dhimal, owner of Central Market.
Police believe the letter was signed "White America" by an African-American suspect shown in video surveillance. Investigators say he threw a brick through the door, entered the store, and set the door on fire.
"I'm here in this country to get my life, not destroy my life," Dhimal said.
"We will have officers through the night out there, walking through the neighborhood," said CMPD Captain Nelson Bowling.
NBC Charlotte received a copy of the note left outside Central Market, which read the following:
Our newly elected president Donald Trump is our nation builder for white America. You all know that, we want our country back on the right track. We need to get rid of Muslims, Indians and all immigrants. Specially (sic), we don't want business run by refugees and immigrant any more(sic).
We are ready to wake up some of our great state including North Carolina and we will take care of the country. Immigrants and refugee are taking our job, doing our business and leaving us standard(sic). So, you are not allowed to do business any more(sic).
We know you are one and many of other immigrant doing business here. This is our warning. Leave the business and go back where you came from.
If you don't follow this warning then we are not responsible for the torture starting now.
God Bless America... ... ... ...White America"
CMPD says surveillance video of the incident was recovered and that it showed a black male suspect, who is approximately 5-foot-8, around 200 pounds, and has a short afro and goatee. The suspect was seen wearing a gray hoodie under a black coat with light jeans and black shoes.
The FBI is also getting involved in the investigation. Meanwhile, Dhimal, who is originally from Bhutan, says he doesn't know if he'll reopen the store because of it.
"I'm here in this country to feel more secure, more safe (sic), and more security, but yesterday I feel the same thing I have in my back home. I'm very sorry to say that," he said.
Officials say there is more than $1,000 in damage done to the store.
Detectives ask anyone with additional information about the incident to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
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