Charges: St. Kate's campus fires set in protest of U.S. military

A former St. Catherine University student is charged with arson for allegedly setting a series of small fires on the university’s St. Paul campus Wednesday afternoon. 

Campus security officers identified Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, of Minneapolis as the suspect after she was seen on surveillance video entering St. Mary’s residence hall carrying a plastic shopping bag just before the fire in the building began. Authorities found the shopping bag, containing a box of matches, discarded in a bucket. 

Three other fires were also set at various buildings throughout campus. 

Hassan quit St. Kate’s last fall. She told police she started the fires because “she’s been reading about the U.S. military destroying schools in Iraq or Afghanistan and she felt that she should do exactly the same thing,” according to the charges. 

Hassan told investigators the fires were not as successful as she had wanted. According to the charges, “she wanted to burn the school to the ground and that her intent was to hurt people.” 

“You guys are lucky that I don’t know how to build a bomb because I would have done that,” she allegedly told police. 

Hassan also said she wrote an letter to her roommates containing radical ideas. The letter scared them and they turned it over to campus security. 

No one was injured in the fires.