SE Houston Islamic center leaders don't want to press charges in fire

HOUSTON -- Leaders of a southeast Houston Islamic center where a massive fire burned last Friday say they don't want the DA to continue prosecution of the man police say started it.

Despite that request, the Harris County Sheriff's Office doesn't plan to drop the case.

Darryl Ferguson, 55, was arrested Monday and charged with arson in the fire at the Quba Islamic Institute.

Officials say Ferguson approached detectives on his bike as they were canvasing the area around the center following the fire.

"We found him off of 1959 near the Islamic center," said a lead detective. "He was very cordial. He voluntarily wanted to speak to us."

Authorities invited him back to their office for voluntary questioning. Officials say it was then he admitted to starting the fire.

Officials say Ferguson, a homeless man who stays near the center, has a previous criminal history including: Credit card abuse, trespassing charges, possession controlled substance and prostitution. When questioned by reporters, Ferguson said it was an accident.

Investigators confirmed an accelerant was used to spark the blaze, but still haven't said the motive behind the fire.