Man Charged with Arson, Assault in Connection to Linwood Fire

April 13, 2018 07:07 PM

A 39-year-old Linwood Township man has been charged with two counts of first-degree arson and two counts of second-degree assault in connection to an incident Wednesday night when the Anoka County Sheriff's Department said two firefighters responding to a fire were assaulted.

Both firefighters have since been released from the hospital, the sheriff's department said Thursday.

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RELATED: Sheriff: 2 Injured Firefighters Released from Hospital after Fire, Assault in Linwood

Jon Vernon Tuma made his first court appearance Friday in Anoka County. His bail was set at $1 million with no conditions or $500,000 with conditions. His next hearing is scheduled for May 10.

According to the criminal complaint, the sheriff's department responded to a report of an RV fire at around 5:06 p.m. Wednesday. Linwood firefighters were already on the scene, and in the process of extinguishing the blaze.

The homeowner allegedly told authorities he allowed his son, Tuma, to live in the RV.

RELATED: Sheriff's Office: 2 Firefighters Assaulted While Responding to Linwood Fire, Man in Custody

A short time later, the complaint goes on to allege, firefighters noticed smoke coming from a home on the property. Two firefighters entered the home to investigate when they reportedly encountered Tuma and directed him to leave.

The complaint states he then attacked one of the firefighters, punching him several times. He is then alleged to have grabbed what was later determined to be brass or bronze bookends and struck the firefighter in the head several times. When the other firefighter tried to intervene, he was allegedly struck in the head as well.

After allegedly biting a firefighter, the complaint states Tuma went out a balcony door and onto the roof of the home, which was now fully engulfed in flames. He reportedly tried to get back into the house several times, but could not because of heat and flames. So he then is said to have jumped into a snowbank, at which point he was taken into custody.

The release states Tuma's father is reported to have told authorities that Tuma had come into the house "acting crazy" after the fire in the RV broke out. And that he was starting his clothes on fire, then throwing the flaming clothes into closets and other areas.

He reportedly said his wife, who was in a wheelchair due to a recent stroke, was in the house at the time the fire started.

But, in a brief statement, Tuma denied any role in starting either fire, the complaint states. Though he is alleged to have admitted to striking both firefighters in the head with the bookends.

The complaint states both firefighters suffered head lacerations that required numerous staples to close.

Credits

Frank Rajkowski

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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