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Maple Grove woman charged with arson, burglary in connection to St. Anthony apartment fire

Cierra Queen Johnson. Photo: Courtesy of Ramsey County
Cierra Queen Johnson.

Updated: July 10, 2019 05:26 PM

A suspect has been charged and booked into the Ramsey County Jail in connection with a St. Anthony apartment fire that happened last week.

According to the St. Anthony Police Department, the suspect has been identified as Cierra Queen Johnson, 31, from Maple Grove. She is charged with first-degree arson and first-degree burglary in the incident.

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According to the criminal complaint, at about 2:45 a.m. on July 5, officers responded to fire alarms at Equinox Apartments located at 2804 Silver Lane in St. Anthony. Officers discovered a fire on the third floor of the building. The building was evacuated, and firefighters responded to put out the fire.

RELATED: Arrest made in connection to St. Anthony apartment fire

Officers spoke to one witness who said she awoke to a noise. When she got up to investigate she noticed smoke in her apartment. She then opened the door and saw flames on the door and in front of her unit. Court papers state she grabbed her child and ran through the flames to escape. She mentioned a woman, later identified as Cierra Queen Johnson, had threatened a roommate. 

Police then spoke to the roommate, who stated she was romantically involved with someone named Jonte, who has a child in common with Johnson. Since July 3, Johnson reportedly threatened the roommate several times through phone calls, Facebook messages and video calls. Johnson also threatened to "burn the apartment complex down" if the roommate didn't stop seeing Jonte. 

The roommate also mentioned that a bail bondsman may have given Johnson her address because Jonte had warrants. The bondsman had stopped by looking for him.

The complaint states surveillance video from a nearby Cub Foods showed Johnson walk out of the store with two cans of lighter fluid in her hands at 2:34 a.m. on July 5. The store receipt shows that a lighter had been purchased in addition to the lighter fluid. 

Officers later arrested Johnson and she agreed to speak to authorities. In the complaint, she said she got a photo of where the roommate lived from Jonte. She also located the building from that photo. Johnson mentioned she received the roommate's license plate information from the bondsman and she intended to set the roommate's car on fire or pop its tires, but she never located the car.

RELATED: Man rescued from apartment fire in St. Anthony, investigators believe arson committed

When asked why she had started the fire, Johnson told police she did it because she was "fed up and wanted to be left alone." She went on to say she didn't believe anyone was in the apartment because the bondsman allegedly told her no one had been there for "a few days." Johnson said she wanted to light the apartment on fire "just a little bit" so they knew she wasn't playing around. She thought it was wrong that the roommate was hiding Jonte, a fugitive. 

Johnson entered the building through an entryway that was propped open, according to the complaint. When she found the roommate's apartment, she started a fire with the lighter fluid and lighter in the middle of the hallway. She denied knowing anyone was in the apartment and further denied it was her intent to hurt anyone.

Johnson has two prior felony convictions.

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Tommy Wiita

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