On Tuesday, February 3, 2009, at approximately 0030 hours, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Engine Company 64 responded to a residence in the 2700 block of Adriatic Way, Sacramento, to check on an extinguished fire. Preliminary indications were that Sacramento County Sheriff's Department deputies were already on-scene, with a possible arson suspect being detained. Engine Company 64 arrived on-scene, where they confirmed an extinguished fire.
Metro Fire Arson Investigators William Gorwood and Larry Stanton arrived shortly afterwards, and assumed primary investigative responsibility. Investigators took custody of the detained individual; conducted witness interviews; and processed the scene for physical evidence.
The investigation determined the suspect had been a guest in the home, during the evening hours of February 2, 2009, where he was visitin g with three residents and one additional guest. During the visit, the suspect had been asked to leave, however initially refused to do so. After a 10:35 PM call was made to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, the suspect fled the area. Deputies conducted an area check, with negative results.
This morning, just before 12:09 AM, the residents and remaining guest heard knocking at the front door. All four individuals went to the door together, where they observed flames coming from the exterior entryway.
The four individuals fled the home through a back patio door. As one of the residents dialed 9-1-1, the remaining three individuals returned to the front of the house, via a side fence, and confronted the suspect. The suspect was taken to the ground, and held there until deputies arrived. Fire to the front door and threshold was extinguished by one of the residents with the use of a garden hose.
Upon arrival, deputies recovered a gasoline can and wicking material from a backpack being worn by the suspect. In addition, they re covered two "Bic" brand disposable lighters.
From the exterior entryway to the residence, arson investigators recovered a breakable container, containing what was believed to be an ignitable liquid, and wicking material matching the material recovered from the suspect's backpack. The combination of the above listed items is consistent with a destructive device, commonly referred to as a "fire bomb" or "Molotov cocktail."
COLE ALAN N! ELSON, age 21, a Sacramento County resident, was arrested by arson investigators and booked into the Sacramento County Jail on the below listed charges. His bail has been set at $400,000.00.
California Penal Code section 12303.3 - Use of a Destructive Device
[Every person who possesses, explodes, ignites, or attempts to explode or ignite any destructive device or any explosive with intent to injure, intimidate, or terrif y any person, or with any intent to wrongfully injure or destroy any property, is guilty of a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, five, or seven years.]
California Penal Section 451(b) - Arson to an Inhabited Structure
[A person is guilty of arson when he or she willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsels, or procures the burning of, any structure, forest land, or property. Arson that causes an inhabited structure or inhabited property to burn is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or eight years.]
California Penal Code se! ction 453(a) - Use of an Accelerant
[Every person who possesses, manufactures, or disposes of any flammable, or combustible material or substance, or any incendiary device in an arrangement or preparation, with intent to willfully and maliciously use this material, substance, or device to set fire to or burn any structure, forest land, or property, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail, not exceeding one year.]