Rochester Man Admits to Torching Minneapolis Pawnshop
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Rochester man has pleaded guilty to a federal arson charge connected to the violence that occurred on the streets of Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd.
26-year-old Montez Lee was accused of breaking into a Minneapolis pawn shop on May 28th of last year and setting the building on fire. According to his plea agreement, security camera video recordings show Lee pouring a fire accelerant around the Max It Pawn Shop and then lighting the flammable liquid. The federal criminal complaint against Lee also included a cell phone video recorded in front of the business that showed the Rochester man saying "(expletive} this place. We're going to burn this (expletive) down."
The resulting fire destroyed the building and took the life of a Burnsville man. It remains unclear whether Lee will face additional charges in state court involving the death of 30-year-old Oscar Stewart. His body was found in the rubble of the pawnshop last July and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner later ruled his death was a homicide. An autopsy determined his death was the result of "probable inhalation of products of combustion and thermal injury from an intentional building fire."