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Three college students were arrested by Tulane University police for allegedly setting a classmate’s dorm room door on fire early Saturday morning.
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Mike Strecker, a spokesman for the Louisiana school, told local broadcast station Fox 8 New Orleans that the incident was caught on security cameras and that Tulane students Robert Money, 21, David Shelton, 20, were arrested. Naimi Okami, a 20-year-old Brown University student who was visiting, was also arrested.
A sign reading “I am NOLA built” on Peyton Lofton and Jackson Arnold’s door was set ablaze after midnight. The door had “minor damage,” according to Strecker, and no one was injured.
Because Lofton heads Tulane’s chapter of the right-wing group Turning Point USA and is involved in the Libertarian organization Young Americans for Liberty, the fire caught the attention of prominent Republicans.
“Wonder if the media will report this horrible crime against a campus conservative?” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.
Wonder if the media will report this horrible crime against a campus conservative? https://t.co/0ER3O8NSD6
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 23, 2019
In a statement shared to Young Americans for Liberty’s Twitter account, Lofton said it’s “a sad day in America when radical activists are lighting dorm room doors on fire because they disagree with you politically.” He added that he’s proud of the work he’s done on- and off-campus, and that the fire has only encouraged him to “continue the battle” to reach his classmates “with the message of freedom.”
The Tulane Police are reportedly still investigating, however, and Lofton’s roommate told the school paper that there’s no evidence the fire was a political act.
“Tulane University is committed to protecting the safety of all in our community and to protecting free speech on campus. Our campuses are and should remain places where ideas can be expressed free of disruption, intimidation and violence,” Strecker’s statement to Fox said.
Money, Shelton and Okami were each charged with aggravated arson, which Louisiana law defines as intentionally setting a fire where it is foreseeable that human life is endangered.
Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Tulane University for comment.
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