The Times

Victims Draw a Picture of Man Who Set Fire to Their Tent, Leading to Arson Investigation Arrest

The man and woman were inside the tent when it was set ablaze in a Santa Ana lot

Two people inside a tent when it was set ablaze last week in a Santa Ana lot were quick on the draw, helping police make an arrest in the arson investigation.

The couple provided a drawing of the suspect, leading to the arrest of Thursday of 35-year-old James Anthony Lawlor. He was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail on charges of attempted murder and arson of an inhabited structure, among other charges.

He will make his first court appearance Friday at the Central Jail Court in Santa Ana, according to online inmate records. It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.

The crime was reported last Friday morning when the Santa Ana Police Department said Lawlor approached the tent, which was pitched in a vacant lot, and told the occupants they had 15 minutes to leave or he would come back with his Glock handgun.

When a man inside the tent popped his head out, police allege, Lawlor kicked him twice and then fled in a black truck, the Los Angeles Times reported. About five minutes later, police said Lawlor returned, carrying a red gasoline container. He then poured gasoline on the tent and set it on fire, police said.

The man and woman inside were able to flee, but the man suffered some minor burns, as well as injuries from the two blows to his head, the Times reported. The couple provided investigators with a drawing of the attacker, including distinct facial hair, that helped police identify him.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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