Penn Township man accused of trying to torch home
Penn Township police thwarted what could have been a double homicide early Friday by quickly responding to a report of a dispute between neighbors.
Police Chief John Otto said Kevin A. Johnson, 35, had doused his neighbor's porch and sport utility vehicle with gasoline but had not ignited the fuel when officers arrived and Johnson surrendered.
“This guy, very plainly, said had you not shown up, his intent was to set that house on fire with them inside,” Otto said. “Who knows what chain of events would've kicked off if this guy would've lit the match.”
Officers were dispatched to the escalating dispute at 1:40 a.m. and arrived five minutes later, Otto said.
Johnson is charged with attempted homicide, attempted arson and related counts.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Johnson picked up his 34-year-old neighbor, who is five months pregnant, from a restaurant in Monroeville, and they went to his home on Kennedy Drive, a residential neighborhood.
Later, the pair went to the woman's nearby home, police said.
A 45-year-old man in the home was yelling about the tires on his pickup being sliced. Police said Johnson claimed he damaged the tires.
During an argument, Johnson punched a hole in a wall at the victims' home, head-butted the man and punched the woman in the stomach, then ran back to his home to retrieve a gas can, Detective Todd DeNillo wrote in the affidavit.
Otto said the relationship between the suspect and victims was unclear, and Johnson refused to discuss it with police.
Johnson allegedly poured gasoline on the vehicle and the front door and porch of the victims' home while they were inside, according to the affidavit.
“Johnson said he was going to burn the house down and kill them inside,” DeNillo wrote in the affidavit. “Johnson was going to light the gasoline with his lighter when police arrived, interrupting him from doing so.”
When police arrived, Johnson tossed the gas can onto his property and surrendered.
“I pour gas on that (expletive)'s house,” Johnson said to police, according to the affidavit. “I wanted to burn and kill everyone in that house.”
Both of the victims are OK, Otto said.
Johnson is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on $250,000 bail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 24 before District Judge Helen Kistler.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- Asking price for Penguins franchise said to be at a record $750M
- Locke struggles again early, Pirates lose again in Milwaukee
- 4-year-old transplant recipient Angelo Giorno from Derry on life support, family says
- American to halt 2 direct routes from Pittsburgh International
- Western Pennsylvania schools’ denial of access to roofers prompts suit
- Police: Woman faked Mt. Pleasant robbery
- Movement along the offensive line continues for Pitt as opener approaches
- Picketer found to be at fault in accident at ATI plant
- South Fayette native looks forward to competing in Miss America Pageant