by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:SEATTLE —
A Seattle restaurant was burned by an arsonist – and that suspect was a hooded man who left graffiti believed to reference to the Trayvon Martin case.
The fire was started about 2:15 a.m. at the corner of 23rd Avenue and East Union Street in Seattle's Central District. The first arriving engine company found flames coming from the back of the Med Mix restaurant near a storage area, and light smoke was found inside the restaurant.
On the building the arsonist used red spray paint to write, "4 Pratt and Trayv."
The owner believes that message refers to Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen killed by George Zimmerman, and Seattle civil rights leader Edwin Pratt, who was shot to death in 1969. Pratt's case is technically unsolved, though deputies believe he was killed by hitman Tommy Kirk, who was killed in a dispute later that year.
The arson caused $90,000 damage to the Med Mix Restaurant. Owner Ottmane Bezzaz said he has "no clue" as to who would do such a thing, or why he might be targeted.
Surveillance video showed a masked hooded figure who walked up with a shopping bag. He took out a paint can and sprayed the message on the building next to the restaurant. Then he poured gasoline over a fence into the Med Mix's storage area.
After using a match to light the building, the young man seen in the video runs away. Click above to watch surveillance footage of the arson, obtained only by KIRO 7.
"I don't know what message he wanted to send," Bezzaz told KIRO 7. The restaurant owner said detectives immediately recognized that these were probably references to Trayvon Martin and Edwin Pratt.
"I don't see the connection," Bezzaz said.
The owner told KIRO 7 he doesn't know what the connection is between the graffiti and his restaurant, but said he plans to rebuild.
The Seattle Police Department Arson Bomb Squad is investigating. No one was inside the restaurant at the time of the fire and there were no injuries reported.