THOMASVILLE, NC – Firefighter crews in Thomasville, North Carolina worked to extinguish a fire that had engulfed a duplex.
While they were working, a man informed them that the fire was set intentionally, and the arsonist had trapped him inside, telling him that he was going to die.
Police: NC man set building on fire, trapping victim inside while shouting 'you're going to die' https://t.co/8Z94bwhR3j
— CBS 17 (@WNCN) January 7, 2022
Thomasville Police and Firefighters responded to a building on fire in the 700 block of Kahler Street on January 5th just after 6 pm.
As the fire crew worked to extinguish the fire that had engulfed the two units inside the duplex, police made contact with a man that was standing outside.
The victim, who was not identified by police, reported that he was inside one of the duplexes before the fire started when 48-year-old Jason Ray Weeks had threatened to kill him.
At some point, after the threat was made, the victim claimed that he began to smell smoke but was unable to leave the building.
The victim claimed when he tried to exit, Weeks held the door shut, preventing his escape.
The victim claimed that Weeks then began yelling to the victim:
“You’re going to die!”
Thankfully the victim was eventually able to escape the fire and was able to point Weeks out to officers because he was still standing nearby. Before officers made contact with Weeks, they were informed by firefighters that Weeks had already tried to run into the burning building but they were able to stop him from doing so.
Firefighters told police that after he was stopped from entering the building, Weeks allegedly fled the area on foot.
Thomasville Police began looking for Weeks and located him walking north on the 70 block of Salem Street. As police attempted to stop him, Weeks allegedly attempted to run from the officers on foot, however, was unable to make it far before police were able to secure him.
The man allegedly held the door shut while someone inside the burning duplex was trying to get out and shouted "You're going to die." https://t.co/sBZGz272OM
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 8, 2022
Police took him into custody and charged him with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree arson.
Weeks was given a $125,000 bond for the arson charge but will learn his bond for the attempted murder charge when he sees a judge. Weeks next scheduled court appearance is on February 16th.
Thomasville police have not released any information as to the relationship between the victim and Weeks. They also have not released if the two had been in any type of argument before the fire was set that may have prompted Weeks to allegedly attempt to kill the victim.
In an unrelated case in Oregon, police Hillsboro Police Department had been investigating an arson case in which destroyed several businesses in the town’s historic downtown area that occurred on January 2nd.
Firefighters initially responded to the Weil Arcade on East Main Street just before 3 am.
When they arrived on the scene, firefighters reported the building was fully engulfed and the roof of the business had collapsed. The roof collapse destroyed several of the businesses that were located inside of the building. Firefighters reported it took almost 12 hours for the fire to be extinguished.
Hillsboro Police worked the case and were able to identify 34-year-old Roel Leon for allegedly committing the arson. Police have not released any information at this time as to how they identified Leon as the alleged arsonist.
Leon was taken into custody and charged with two felony counts of Arson-II and three felony counts of Burglary-II. Police are asking anyone with any information that can lead to any further arrests and convictions of those responsible to contact the Hillsboro Police Department at 503 681-6190.
“He was threatening, ‘I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna burn the store. I’m going to burn the building down,’” Mohamed Abdulla said.
Abdulla’s father owns the store in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood in Brooklyn.
What happened to draw the suspect’s ire remains unclear. But, it led him to make the threats and then return to make good on them.
The alleged arsonist threw one gas bomb, and was planning to throw a second, but a “good Samaritan” stepped in to prevent that from happening. The store owner said that man is a regular customer.
Abdulla was behind the counter when a bottle came into the store, shattering and igniting the counter.
“It was so fast, you wouldn’t believe it. I was there working in the deli and had customers. Out of nowhere I had glass and fire in my face,” Abdulla said. “If the second one would have came here, the whole building would have been on fire.”
NYFD released surveillance video that showed the frightening scene as well as capturing the suspect in action.
The man shown throwing the explosive has been identified as 38-year old, Joel Mangal. He was apprehended two blocks away at a train station. Abdulla managed to escape the blaze and followed him down the street.
While waiting for the police to arrive, Mangal slashed Abdulla on the hand
Mangal is now facing charges of arson, assault, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal mischief.
According to the New York Post, along with the laceration on his hand, Abdulla suffered burns to his arms. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.
The store has been reopened for business, and members of the neighborhood community are looking for the man who prevented the second bottle from being thrown.
They want to acknowledge him for taking action to protect people and property in the neighborhood.
Sadly, this is not the first instance of Molotov cocktails we have seen in New York City over the past few years, with numerous instances where law enforcement were the intended targets.
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