Lompoc man arrested for attempting to set building on fire, attempted homicide

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LOMPOC, Calif. – A Lompoc man was arrested on Tuesday afternoon after he attempted to set a building on fire and assaulted officers with large pieces of wood, according to the Lompoc Police Department.

Officers responded to the 1000 block of East Ocean Avenue around 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday for reports of a man attempting to assault staff. On their way to the incident, dispatch advised officers that the suspect was trying to set the building on fire, according to the police department.

Responding officers located the suspect, a 35-year-old Lompoc man, on the 100 block of North Third Street holding a large piece of wood, the police department said, adding that he threw the wood at officers when they got out of their patrol cars.

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The wood didn’t hit the officers, but it did hit their vehicles, the police department said.

Morales refused to comply with orders to get to the ground and threw another piece of wood at the officers before going back into the building and shutting the door.

Officers heard people yelling that people were inside the building that was now on fire, the police department said.

Officers forced entry into the building, ordered the man to the ground, and took him into custody.

Because of his behavior, the man was taken to the emergency room for medical clearance. He kicked an officer in the head at the Lompoc Valley Medical Center emergency room, according to the police department.

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The building was evacuated as the flames continued to grow, and officers knocked down flames with fire extinguishers before Lompoc Fire crews arrived to finish extinguishing the fire.

After interviewing witnesses, officers learned that some victims had barricaded themselves to get away from the suspect’s violent behavior and he then set the room on fire where they were hiding.

Damage from the fire is estimated to be over $10,000.

The man was medically cleared and transported to the Santa Barbara County Jail where he was booked on multiple charges, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, felony vandalism, and arson of an inhabited dwelling, among others.

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