Arson suspected in fire at St. Paul ‘nightmare’ house where man was fatally shot a day earlier

A suspicious fire struck a home Sunday where a man was shot to death a day earlier in St. Paul, authorities said.

The blaze at the residence in the 800 block of E. Lawson Avenue, which has drawn a substantial amount of police attention this year, was being investigated as a possible arson, Fire Department personnel at the scene said.

A 37-year-old man showed up at the home about 2:20 a.m. Sunday while intoxicated and “attempted to enter the crime scene that was protected by crime scene tape and monitored by officers,” said Police Sgt. Mike Ernster.

The man was told by police to leave, but he sat down on the drive and defied the officers’ orders, Ernster said. Police arrested him and booked him in jail on suspicion of obstructing the legal process, a misdemeanor.

Police left the scene about 9 a.m. only to return about two hours with firefighters after “witnesses reported smoke and flames coming from the house,” the sergeant said. The blaze was extinguished, and no injuries were reported.

On Saturday, officers called to the scene about 4 p.m. and found a man suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper body. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. The victim’s identity has yet to be released.

The death marked St. Paul’s 24th homicide of the year. No arrests have been announced.

Ernster said that the residence has been connected to 170 911 calls this year.

“They were everything from drug offenses to property crime calls to quality-of-life issues and disorderly conduct,” the department spokesman said.

Al Thompson, who lives nearby, said, “That house has been a nightmare to our neighborhood. We hear gunshots almost on a daily basis just from that address.

“This was going to be my kids’ bus stop if they were not distance learning. I am so glad I do not have to worry about that address or the kids playing at the park nearby.”

Homicide investigators were interviewing witnesses at police headquarters Saturday night. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 651-266-5650.

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7 Fatally Shot at California House Where 1,000 Pounds of Marijuana Is Found

Seven people were fatally shot early Monday morning inside a Southern California home about 75 miles north of San Diego that the authorities said might have housed an illegal marijuana-growing operation.

More than 1,000 pounds of marijuana and “several hundred” marijuana plants were found at the house in Aguanga, a rural, unincorporated area of Riverside County, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

One victim, a woman, was transported by paramedics to a hospital for treatment, the office said. All seven died as a result of their injuries, officials said.

A spokesman for the office declined on Tuesday to provide any details about the victims, their injuries or potential suspects.

In a statement on Monday, the sheriff’s office said the killings appear “to have been an isolated incident” and posed “no threat to the general public.”

Medical marijuana has been legal in California for 20 years and the sale of recreational marijuana was legalized in 2016. But the state’s longtime illegal marijuana market has continued to thrive, officials have said. Experts say that is because of the surplus of marijuana in the area as well as a patchwork of laws by local governments regulating the newly legalized industry.

Riverside County has regulated commercial cannabis operations since December 2018.

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