Many people do not really understand when I say that domestic violence is a society problem. Many think that I am referring to a vague- ‘well, society shouldn’t allow that’. But I actually mean that domestic violence is a threat to all of society and this story will illustrate just what I mean by that.
I first posted this story at CrimeNe.ws and I will admit I wondered at the time if this could be a domestic related crime. But early reports didn’t give any indications. As I had posted other attempts at causing apartment building fires though, I did wonder. Then Soobs came along and posted an update that showed the connection. Thank you Soobs.
People in a domestic violence rage do not think of repercussions of their actions to themselves or others (or at least they don’t seem to think of it until after the fact.) And any attempts to intervene between them and the object of their rage will often also be met with violence. And even innocent bystanders are also at risk, even when they do not attempt to intervene.
When I say ‘object of their rage’ I do mean that literally. They don’t see the mother of their children, they don’t see someone’s daughter or friend. What they see is something that has caused them to lose face, lose honor, lose respect (at least in their own mind), or lose in some other way. And as it is their relationship- it is their right to control or destroy.
Tuesday at 12:47 am a fire was reported at a 135 unit apartment building. It burned for almost 2 days and the building was destroyed. Families are now homeless and have lost everything in the fire.
When the fire began many of the residents had been in bed. Many escaped the building by jumping from balconies or windows. And when they escaped, they were then exposed to freezing temperatures. Most without coats, many in their night clothes.
At least 131 people have been displaced. Sixty one people were rescued from windows or balconies. Thirty one people were treated at the hospital for various bruises, sprains and broken bones as well as hypothermia from standing in the freezing weather, and smoke inhalation. Two people were admitted. Four firefighters were also treated for minor injuries.
It is unknown who the people were who were tenants of the building as the landlords list of tenants was burned up in the fire. Inside the burned building, firefighters have found two bodies. Those remains have not been identified as yet and have not been removed from the building.
The building is unstable, and at present is a danger to anyone who attempts to recover the bodies. The bodies are encased in ice- from efforts to fight the fire. Officials say the building will have to be stabilized before they can remove the bodies or search for more victims. Officials have not released information as to whether the bodies are men, women or children. Officials also say they do not know if other bodies might be found, but they warn that may be a possibility.
Officials say the fire spread quickly and they have determined it to be arson. They have arrested Gene Johnson, 36, on suspicion of first degree murder. Also under arrest is his cousin Derrick Johnson, 23.
The motive? Police believe the fire was triggered by an argument over the phone between Derrick Johnson and his girlfriend. It is unknown if she was a tennant in the building but police say she was staying there. However, police say she did escape the fire.
At least one friend has said that police arrested the wrong man. “He was at a party that night,” “He was there with us.” But police believe that the two went to the roof of the apartment building with two cans of gasoline, poured it on the roof and walked away.
Both Johnsons have criminal records. Derrick Johnson is a registered sex offender. According to the landlord Derrick Johnson, his girlfriend and her child had been evicted from the apartments in 2004 for nonpayment of rent. Both Johnson’s have previous arrests for domestic violence.
The case remains under investigation. Police say they are not looking for any other suspects, but they are asking for any witnesses who may have been in the area and seen the two men to get in contact with them.
Whether it is from a poorly aimed gunshot, fighting at any attempt at intervention, or flames from a fire domestic violence is a danger to everyone in the vicinity.
One victim has been identified as Joe Santooya, 52. The other has not been identified as yet but police say it is a male either Caucasian or Hispanic in his 30’s. Neither victim is thought to have been one of the targets. Authorities continue to search for more victims.
Thanks to KatK we have updates.
The second victim has been identified as Clemente Perez Salgado, 32. No other victims have been found. A gag order has been issued in the case and three more arrests.
Patrick Lewis, 26, Eric Johnson, 24, and Sean Lovelace, 31 have been arrested and charged with accessory to first degree murder.
Two weeks after the fire, three cats were rescued from the burned out building.