CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Aggravated arson: Helmsdale Road
At 6:25 p.m. March 15, police were called to the scene of a house fire. The duplex’s second floor was on fire. A woman who lives on the first floor with her son, 15, said the two exited the home when her son smelled smoke.
When the home’s owner/landlord arrived on the scene, he told police that he suspected a man who had been living on the second floor started the fire. He said that the man had previously been living in a shelter when he was told to leave. The man contacted the landlord about helping him with a place to live. The landlord allowed him to live on the second floor in return for the man making repairs to the home. The landlord told police that the man was not doing any work, so he told him he had to leave the home by 2 p.m. March 15.
The landlord reached the man on the phone and gave the phone to police. The man admitted to police that he started the the fire. He said he did so because the landlord was being disrespectful and racist toward him. He told police he used paint thinner to start the fire, then gave police his full name and Social Security number, and said he was on his way downtown and would not come back to the scene of the fire.
The second floor was found to have extensive fire damage, and the first floor, heavy water damage. A partially emptied can of paint thinner was found on the second floor.
On March 16, the suspect, 23, was arrested near Fowler Avenue in Cleveland. He was charged with two counts of aggravated arson.
Aggravated menacing: Beechwood Avenue
At 12:50 p.m. March 12, police were called to a home where a man had been shot in the leg. The man was driving down his street and into his driveway when someone shot at his vehicle and struck the man in the left leg. Several bullet holes were found in the vehicle. The man was taken to the hospital after police removed a gun from his waistband.
Multiple reports had the shots coming from the second floor of a neighboring home on Compton Road. The woman who lives in the Compton returned home while police were on the scene and allowed officers inside to investigate. The woman’s fiance and her daughter, 7, were in the home while she was away.
When questioned, the fiance told police that the woman’s brother had been on the phone arguing with another man. The fiance took a shower and, as he did so, heard gunshots. He checked on the girl, who was not harmed, and then discovered that the woman’s brother was gone.
The brother shortly after called the fiance and told him that the man with whom he had argued had pulled up to the house and, while in his car and wearing a ski mask, fired shots at him. Police also found evidence that gunshots had been fired from the second floor of the Compton home.
A First Energy employee who was on the seen to check on a tree to be cut down, told police he ducked in front of his truck as an SUV pulled up and the driver fired shots. He heard a total of 12-14 shots.
It was learned that the man who was on the phone and who may have fired the shots from the SUV had earlier been accused of assaulting the sister of the woman who lives in the Compton home, which possibly led to a shooting earlier in the same day.
Police were unable to stop the SUV, but were informed that another car involved in the shooting, that of the brother, was found in the area of Severance Circle. There, the brother was arrested for a felony investigation. Police continue to investigate the matter.
Improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle: Delmore Road
At 6:50 p.m. March 14, an officer stopped car that had no rear bumper and no rear license plate. The driver told police he did not have a driver’s license, and that he only recently obtained the car, so he hadn’t yet got license plates.
When asked if he had anything in the car about which police should know, he told of having some marijuana cigarettes. The man moved his hands about as he spoke, and the officer had to tell him to keep his hands in sight. In the car, police found a loaded gun and four ammunition magazines, as well as a bag of marijuana.
As the man, 19, was handcuffed, he asked to speak with the officer. He said that he only carried the gun for protection since his cousin was recently shot, and that the magazines were only for show. A female who was a passenger in the car was released to her father.
Police cited the man for driving without a license, a rear bumper, a license plate or a seat belt. He was charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, possession of drugs and a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
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