CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A west Charlotte arson case is likely not a hate crime, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Thursday.
Seth Headley, 27, posted video and photos of his burned Corvette on Facebook Wednesday morning. Headley said he was "devastated" that someone would do this to his dream car.
Jackson Brooks, 21, was charged with burning personal property in the case. CMPD says Brooks was likely targeting a woman who lived at the home with Headley. A second case is now believed to be connected.
Members of the LGBT community feared the incident may have been a hate crime. CMPD says the case was not a hate crime and that the motive appeared to circle around the relationship with the woman who lived at the home.
"He knew a female lived there. He didn't know who the vehicle belonged to," CMPD said.
That female is Sapphire Ashley.
"The only reason he knew where I lived is because he knew I didn't have a car and he came to pick me up on our date, which is a usual thing you should be able to do," said Ashley, who said she went on two dates with Brooks. "He didn't lead on with anything that would make me feel like he was extremely unstable from those meetings."
Another vehicle fire that happened 13 miles away an hour prior is believed to be connected to the case, police say.
CMPD says they interviewed the victim and were able to link the fires. Brooks knew the victims in both cases, police believe.
"I've been fighting back tears [...] it disgusts me," Headley told WBTV's Kristi O'Connor after the incident Wednesday. "Who feels like they need to do that?"
According to Headley, the suspect can be seen on surveillance in his west Charlotte driveway around 4:30 Wednesday morning. Headley said the suspect, who appeared to be wearing a bulletproof vest and appeared to have a gun was in front of his home for nearly 30 minutes.
"He didn't care he was seen, he took his time," Headley said. "It was pure hate. No matter which way you spin it. The motive is unclear because I do not know him.
A witness saw the suspect in the neighborhood and was able to provide a description, which police say led to Brooks' arrest.
Brooks was released on $5,000 bond.
"We did not sleep well last night and I can guess we will not sleep well tonight," said Headley.
"He knows where I live, he knows where I work. I do not feel safe," said Ashley. "When I went on that date, I didn't know that my house would be targeted by someone with malicious intent."
"You obviously see a pattern in his behavior," said Chief Deputy Johnny Jennings. "You do not want someone like that to be available to do this again."