A 41-year-old man, who threw a Molotov cocktail at police earlier today, is believed to have died in a fire he set after the assault.
Deputies initially responded to a disturbance at a house in the 33100 block of E Lake Holm Dr. SE around 10:00 AM when a neighbor called because the man who lives there was “screaming at the top of his lungs.”
Police received another call just before 1:00 PM when a neighbor called police to complain that the man had thrown rocks at his house and then broke the windshield of his car. Police said they have responded the house many times before regarding threats, disturbances and mental health complaints.
Due to the man’s history, four deputies, two armed with less lethal weapons, responded to the house to contact the man about the crime. When deputies arrived, the man was standing outside on a deck. Deputies told him he was under arrest for vandalism, and he needed to come down off the deck.
The man lit a Molotov cocktail and threw it at the deputies, striking one in the face. The man then ran into a large shed and barricaded himself inside. Within minutes, a fire started inside the shed, and deputies attempted to extinguish the fire with a garden hose as King County Fire Firefighters were called to the scene.
Deputies said the fire engulfed the shed quickly and spread to a mobile home nearby. Firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze as deputies searched the area for the man, unsure if he had fled from the building during the fire.
King County Guardian One, TAC30, and K-9 searched the neighborhood and a nearby wooded area for the man. Just after 7:00 PM, after the fire was extinguished, fire investigators were able to enter the building to conduct a search and discovered a body inside. Positive identification of the remains will be made by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, but are believed to be those of the man police were seeking.
The deputy who was injured by the Molotov cocktail was taken to Valley Medical Center and treated for minor burns to the face and neck.
King County Fire Investigators are conducting the investigation into the nature and cause of the fire.
Update: Fire Investigators believe the fire that killed a 41-year-old man near Auburn yesterday was started by a Molotov cocktail he had thrown at police.
Deputies went to the home in the 33100 block of E lake Holm Dr SE yesterday afternoon while investigating a vandalism complaint. When deputies contacted the man he threw a Molotov cocktail at them. The man then ran into a nearby structure and barricaded himself inside.
Fire investigators said the investigation revealed the fire from the Molotov cocktail spread to the structure and the man was either unwilling or unable to escape the building. Deputies at the scene attempted to extinguish the fire but the building quickly engulfed in flames.
One deputy sustained minor burns from the Molotov cocktail. He was hit by fiery spray from the ignited device. His uniform caught fire and his face and neck were burned. The deputy said he had to “stop, drop and roll” to extinguish the flames. He was treated and released from Valley Medical Center yesterday.
The man police were seeking likely died from smoke inhalation according to the fire investigator. The King County Medical Examiner will determine specific cause and nature of death and identification of the man.