Updated: January 6, 2013 9:54AM
Man charged with arson in house fire
A Hammond man has been charged with arson in a house fire discovered early Sunday morning in Hammond.
Jorrell Brian Jackson, 27, of the 800 block of Morris Avenue, is accused of deliberately setting a fire by the back door of the home of a man with whom he’d gotten into a fight the previous evening.
The man told police he saw Jackson near his home in the 1000 block of 175th Street at about 1 a.m. Sunday. The man and his cousin went outside to the front of the house, fearing that Jackson might want to start something, the probable cause affidavit states. The man told officers he saw Jackson come from behind the house as the man’s mother opened the front door. Jackson spoke briefly to the man and his cousin, then left.
At about 5:30 a.m., the smoke alarm sounded and the man’s parents told him someone had set fire to the back door of the house.
Police obtained surveillance images from a nearby gas station about 15 minutes before the fire showing Jackson making a purchase.
After learning of the fire, the cousin told police he saw Jackson standing near a gas station at 175th Street and Columbia Avenue and confronted Jackson. The cousin said he smelled a strong odor of gasoline coming from his clothing.
A fire department investigator found the fire had been set with an accelerant, probably gasoline, court records state.
Cars towed from apartment complexes
Police towed 69 cars and issued 73 tickets during an investigation of out-of-state license plate violations, Chief Brian Miller said. The traffic and community affairs divisions visited apartment complexes in the city and compared registration plates to leaseholder names provided by the apartment managers.
If residents were present during the inspection, they were issued tickets and their cars were not towed, but others received the reciprocity violation notice when they retrieved their cars, Miller said.
“I’m very proud of Lt. (Patrick) Vicari and all the efforts of our traffic division,” Miller said.
Man accused of beating 3-year-old
Neglect of a dependent and battery charges have been filed in Lake Superior court against an East Chicago man accused of “whooping” a 3-year-old, leaving welts, lacerations and bruises on her body.
Lawrence J. Watson, 27, told police he struck the child with his hand at first, then hit her with a belt. Watson’s girlfriend, the child’s mother, said she had left Watson to watch her children while she went to work. The girl had soiled herself earlier, and the mother disciplined her. Watson sent the mother a text that he had “whooped” the girl because she had done the same thing again.
The girl and the mother’s other children were removed from the home and placed at the Carmelite Home in East Chicago.
The charges are punishable by a maximum eight-year sentence.