Phoenix FD: Suspect in LGBTQ youth center arson arrested

One N Ten staff said the arson suspect arrested by Phoenix police received services from the center.

Police have arrested the arson suspect in a fire earlier this month at a Phoenix LGBTQ youth center, Phoenix FD announced Friday.

A Phoenix fire spokesperson said Friday that Darren William Beach Jr. had been arrested at his apartment.

Beach was booked into the 4th Avenue Jail on one count of arson.

Video surveillance shows a man who police say is Beach dousing the One N Ten LGBTQ youth center in gasoline July 12 before it goes up in flames.

Fire officials identified Beach as the suspect earlier this week when they released surveillance video of the fire.

“I hope he gets the help and support he needs,” said Linda Elliott, One N Ten’s executive director. “He obviously is troubled in some way and we just hope he gets the help and peace that any youth deserves.”

Elliott says this crime speaks to the needs for youth services in the Valley. Her organization tried to help Beach but at age 26, he aged out of the services they offer.

“He’s not in a good situation. He was not in a good situation before it happened and I’m just sad,” Elliott said.

Out of the sadness, there is also hope. Donations from around the Valley and the country just keep coming. Donors send cash, sleeping bags, food, toiletries, computers and more.

“All of the friends we knew we had before have come out in total support for us and we now have hundreds of additional friends that didn’t know about us before,” Elliot said.

Even Miss Universe stopped by their new location going up at Central and Portland avenues in Phoenix to offer support.

“I wanted to meet the people. I want to know their story, I wanted to know about what they need now, so that’s really important,” Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere.

The fire destroyed One N Ten's main youth center where those in need could get free food and bus passes. A place where they could socialize safely, and even complete high school if they got bullied in public classrooms.

Elliot tells us seeing their safe place set on fire has upset the youth and the One N Ten team.

“Our staff are stressed and traumatized from the experience but we're strong and we're going to come back and be even better than we were then,” Elliott said.

On Sunday before a Phoenix Mercury game, Brittney Griner and the WBNA will present Elliot with a $5,000 check for the center.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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