Man told to leave Cambodian temple instead tried to burn it down, charges say

A 73-year-old man is accused of trying to burn down a Cambodian temple Sunday in Tacoma.

Pierce County prosecutors charged him with second-degree arson Tuesday.

Superior Court Judge Shelly Speir ordered that the man’s competency to stand trial be evaluated by Western State Hospital. In the meantime, he’s to be held without bail.

The man had been told he wasn’t allowed into the temple at 1420 E. 44th St., but returned anyway and set a fire, according to charging papers.

A police officer who responded reported it looked as if the fire was started with paper, trash and used cigarettes. Police reports estimated the damage to be $4,000.

Police found and detained the man, who allegedly said: “Yeah, I did it,” “I’m going to burn the temple to the ground” and “I’m going to kill them, I’m going to kill everyone here when I come back.”

Once at the jail, the man told the officer he wanted to kill him, too, according to charging papers.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell