Three arrested in arson spree spurred by civil unrest
BATON ROUGE- Three people accused of setting several fires earlier this week told investigators that they wanted "to make a statement" as a part of the widespread protests against police brutality, according to court records.
One of the four fires caused $300,000 in damage, investigators said. In some fires, arsonists had poured diesel fuel onto tires and set them ablaze.
The first fire set was late Sunday, May 31, on Fieldstone Drive at Tai Industries, which makes custom millwork. About seven hours later, another fire was set at Autozone, located at 11554 Airline Hwy.
The next fires, both at tire shops, were set early Tuesday, June 2. The first, at Tiger Tire Shop at 4415 Plank Rd., was reported before 1 a.m. Tuesday. The fire department estimated the value of the building and its contents at $1 million. Arrest documents say the fire caused $300,000 in damage.
Less than two hours later, firefighters heading to a different fire saw smoke coming from AAA Tire Shop at 6160 Airline. That fire was set to a storage trailer behind the building and caused about $5,000 in damage.
Video surveillance footage was collected and reviewed, showing a four-door Toyota Camry arriving and leaving multiple fire locations. The vehicle was later seen at a Mobile gas station where one of the suspects was identified as 21-year-old Terry Lemond Dorsey.
Video footage from the Tai Industries fire shows an individual inside a fenced yard setting fire to items, and footage from the Autozone fire show two individuals pouring an accelerant on the front door and exterior walls of the building.
Surveillance video footage showed four individuals walking from the parking lot of the apartment complex toward Autozone, one person carrying a gas can, according to court records.
Authorities say Dorsey confessed to setting the fires to a St. George Fire Protection District Fire Investigator on Thursday, June 4, during a taped interview.
Court records say Dorsey also told investigators that he was assisted by his 22-year-old sister, Kenyatta Sheire Huggins, and 22-year-old Shamyrin Djhodi James Johnson.
Arrest documents say both Huggins and Johnson later confessed to investigators that they participated in setting the fires.
Investigators served a search warrant at Johnson's home late Thursday and took him into custody.
Police records say the fires were ignited because the three individuals wanted "to make a statement in the on-going civil unrest across the nation against law enforcement."
Dorsey, Huggins, and Johnson were each booked with four counts of simple arson and two counts of criminal conspiracy.