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Shots fired at veteran who put out arson fire

Bullets narrowly missed 60-year-old man
Akron arson porch fire.jpg
Posted at 12:44 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 19:28:02-05

AKRON — Investigators from the Akron police and fire departments are looking into an arson fire and a shooting that happened within minutes of each other outside of a home in the Kenmore neighborhood.

It happened around 8 p.m. Thursday at a home in the 500 block of W. Wilbeth Road.

According to police, an unknown person firebombed the porch using a molotov cocktail.

A 60-year-old Air Force veteran, who was renovating a vacant house next door, saw the fire and went over to the property to extinguish the flames.

The veteran, who did not want his named released, described what he heard before he spotted the blaze.

"I heard like a low-level explosion. The neighbor's front porch was engulfed in flames. Somebody had thrown a molotov cocktail," he said.

The good Samaritan said part of the siding on the house melted. He tossed a burning baby seat from the front porch onto the grass. As other items burned on the porch, he stomped out the flames.

After getting through that adrenaline rush, the veteran said he was stunned when a man with guns appeared and tried to kill him.

"He had a laser pointed at my chest. I was able to avoid that," he said.

At that point, he dove to the ground as shots rang out. He estimated about 20 rounds were fired with many of the bullets going into the house.

Police said the shots narrowly missed the man. He was not injured.

"He unloaded two different weapons, a 9mm and a .45," he recalled. "It's just crazy. I can't believe somebody would do that, let alone come back and then fire all those rounds."

Since it was dark, the vet did not get a good description of the gunman, but believes he got into an SUV before taking off through the neighborhood.

Police recovered several shell casings and other evidence, but investigators are asking for help from the public because there are no suspects in the crimes.

"There's always a grave chance that someone could get seriously injured. This is senseless," said Lt. Michael Miller. "It's extremely disappointing that someone would do that and then to really drive by and then harm the very person trying to help. I mean, where does that happen? It's unfortunate that it happened here in Akron."

The veteran said he has seen a woman coming and going from the house, but it's unclear if anyone is living there. No one was inside the home at the time of the shooting, Miller said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Akron police at 330-375-2490 or CrimeStoppers at 330-434-COPS.

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