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Arsonist Who Tried To Burn Down Gossip Grill Arrested

October 23, 2023

The morning after the incident, Gossip Grill opened for business as usual, and was met with a sea of customers wanting to show their support.

Early Friday morning, 12:30 a.m., a fire was started on the patio of Gossip Grill, one of the nation’s 21 remaining lesbian bars, located in San Diego. Luckily, the fire did not hurt anyone and did not cause any damage to the inside of the bar. Police have arrested Ryan Habrel, 38, for allegedly starting the fire. He was captured on video cameras committing the crime.

 

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The day after the incident occurred, Moe Girton, the owner of Gossip Grill, recognized Habrel in the area and called the police, which led to his arrest. Girton was getting interviewed at the time by a local news station, and the arrest was caught on camera. Girton expressed regret and said that Habrel is known in the area as a unhoused person who has a history of addiction and mental illness.

KNSD-TV reported that the intentionally-set fire destroyed Gossip Grill’s outdoor seating, an overhead awning, and some decorations, totally about $10,000 worth of damage. Two employees were inside of the bar at the time of the fie, closing the business down, but were unharmed as the fire was quickly extinguished by firefighters at 12:39 a.m. Police initially speculated that the fire could’ve been electrical but Girton said that the patio’s electricity was off at the time.

“Every inch of this place is on camera, so we did have footage,” Girton told KNSD-TV.

“Habrel was arrested and booked into jail for arson to a commercial structure and the use of an accelerant,” San Diego Police Department Lt. Adam T. Sharki said. “The investigation is ongoing and there is no indication at this time that this is hate-crime-related.”

The morning after the incident, Gossip Grill opened for business as usual, and was met with a sea of customers wanting to show their support.

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