Florida man sentenced for setting store on fire during Floyd unrest


Police SWAT officers guard firefighters as they respond to the Champs Sports store, Sunday, May 31, 2020 in Tampa. A Florida man was convicted Tuesday, March 30, 2021 of setting fire to the sporting goods store and shopping center during unrest that followed protests over the death of George Floyd last year. Terrance Lee Hester Jr., 20, pleaded guilty in Tampa federal court to damaging or destroying by fire a building used in interstate commerce, according to court records. (Luis Santana/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

TAMPA (WFLA) – A man who set fire to a Tampa Champs Sports store during unrest that followed protests over the death of George Floyd has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Terrance Lee Hester surrendered to federal authorities in Oswego, New York, in July 2020.

Video released by the Tampa Police Department last year identified Hester throwing a burning T-shirt into the store window the night of the riots. The DOJ said the building became fully engulfed in fire, resulting in an estimated $1.25 million in damages to the Champs store and other businesses in the plaza.

Photo: Pinelllas County Sheriff’s Office

Hester Jr. pleaded guilty in March to a federal arson charge. He faced a minimum of five and a maximum of 20 years in prison.

The Tampa Police Department arrested 41 people on May 31, 2020, the night of the protests.

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