Two men sought for setting bar on fire while patrons were barricaded inside

April 27, 2012 4:14:57 PM PDT
Two men were caught on camera last week setting fire to an east Houston bar while patrons were barricaded inside.

Luckily, everyone was able to escape uninjured, but those two alleged arsonists are still on the run.

On April 19, authorities say two Hispanic males were removed from a bar located on the 8000 block of Harrisburg. Surveillance video of the incident was released and you can see a man wearing white shorts with the name 'Mata' tattooed on his back, grabs a piece of wood, closes the burglar door to the bar, then wedges the wood between the front door and ground.

The surveillance video was taken at the East End bar, shortly after the two men in the video were kicked out for fighting. Investigators say they left to buy a can of gasoline from a Conoco station, then returned. After barricading the door, they went to the back door, doused the building with fuel, and set it on fire.

Neighbor Herbert Salinas saw the aftermath.

"I just see the fire truck and ambulance and that's it," said Salinas.

Investigators say the man in the white shorts is Jaime Mata, who's been charged with felony arson. Eyewitness News went to his listed address, but nobody was home. Neighbors say he does look familiar.

"We just wave to them, trying to be friendly," said Andy Salazar

Investigators say the second man in the video goes by the nickname 'Pepe,' but he has not been identified. At the time of the offense, he wore blue shorts with no shirt, displaying a number of distinctive tattoos.

Both Mata and the second suspect remain at large.

The bar itself is currently closed. That's an unusual sight for Salinas, who says it's often open very late.

"Sometimes four or five o'clock in the morning, the place is still open. I don't know what they're doing in there," Salinas said.

Customers at the bar were able to safely evacuate through a third exit, and no injuries were reported.

Anyone with information about the identity of the unknown suspect, or the location of the charged fugitive is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

Load Comments