El Cajon

Man Arrested After Threatening to Burn Down Apartment Complex in El Cajon

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An El Cajon man who threatened to set his apartment on fire forced other residents to evacuate the complex while authorities dealt with the matter.

Monday evening was frightening for families at an El Cajon apartment complex who were forced to evacuate after their neighbor threatened to set his apartment on fire.

Police say the suspect refused to come out of his unit on Shady Lane. He turned on the gas and attempted to set his unit on fire, according to the El Cajon Police Department.

Officers tried to negotiate with the man but he wouldn't surrender. Meanwhile, other officers were telling neighbors to evacuate.

"The police came and said there is an emergency so we had to leave. And we asked them what it was and they said the person beside you, the apartment beside you is trying to burn his apartment down. We just went out without thinking with my kids and my parents," one neighbor said.

The suspect eventually lit a fire in his unit but it did not cause an explosion or spread to any other units, police said. Neighboring units did, however, sustain smoke and water damage.

The suspect later surrenders to police and was booked into jail on several counts of arson, and for making criminal threats.