BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — A 43-year-old man is accused of dousing a woman and her son with rubbing alcohol before using a blow torch to burn down a mobile home in Bloomington.
It happened at a mobile home in Arlington Valley Mobile Park on North Willis Drive early Monday morning.
Police said John Lawrence Jr. did not know the victims when he went on the rampage.
Police said the 44-year-old woman and her son, who are both disabled, are lucky to be alive. The woman told police she was visiting her sister and doing laundry when a man barged in, threatening them.
“A lot of us were just calling everybody to see if they even got out because that’s how like quick it looked like it happened,” Morgan West said.
Neighbors like West said they heard sirens and saw the fire.
“I came outside and all I see was a big whole house in flames and the fire department was coming across my road,” she said.
Bloomington firefighters arrived on scene and put everything out. They quickly learned the woman and her 22-year-old son made it out safely.
“We would locate them at a nearby trailer, and as we started asking them about what had happened, they gave us the story of John Lawrence who attempted to murder them,” said Bloomington Police Department Capt. Steven Kellams.
Police said Lawrence targeted the two victims. They said he didn’t know them well, but knew the homeowners.
“John Lawrence had simply punch the female victim in the face and then he grabbed a blow torch and rubbing alcohol and began dousing the trailer with rubbing alcohol and dousing both the victims with rubbing alcohol,” Kellams said.
Police said the victims feared for their lives and tried running away.
“When they tried to leave through the front of the trailer he blocked their escape so they had to make their way back to the back of the trailer and break out the window to get out of the burning trailer,” he said.
Police said they found Lawrence hiding about a block away.
“When the fire department was putting out the fire the water from the hoses was running through the culvert and filling it up with water,” said Kellams. “He had been hiding in the culvert under the road way and he started to be in fear of drowning so he began yelling for help.”
Police said Lawrence admitted to the whole thing when they took him in.
“He claimed that he felt threatened by the female victim in this case, and he also made statements that he believe there were people outside of the trailer that wanted to do him harm and that he felt if he set the trailer on fire he might be able to escape,” he said.
Police said they didn’t find anyone outside. Lawrence was arrested on charges of attempted murder, battery and arson. The victims had minor injuries.