RONCEVERTE, WV (WVNS) — A Ronceverte man is facing charges for arson and attempted murder after police said he tried to burn a house down and set officers on fire.
On Friday, December 17, 2021, Ronceverte Police were dispatched to a home on West Main Street in Ronceverte for a mental status change. When police arrived, they spoke to the mother of Damon Simmons. She told police she had noticed a change in his mental state and that he was trying to start a fire in the fireplace near other flammable objects.
When she unlocked the door to let officers in, Sergeant R. R. Alkire II noticed the door was blocked by a couch. According to court documents, when Sergeant Alkire II got into the home, he smelled smoke and saw Simmons standing in the dining room with an unknown bottle and long lighter. Simmons ran out the back door when Sergeant Alkire II asked him to drop the lighter and come out.
When Sergeant Alkire II ran after Simmons, he noticed the stove was on fire. He stopped to put out the flames before finding Simmons in his basement. When the officer entered the basement, Simmons allegedly raised an aerosol can and lighter, pointed them at the officer and sprayed the can causing a flame to ignite. At that point, Sergeant Alkire II called for backup from Patrolman McMillon.
While waiting for backup, Sergeant Alkire II kept trying to get Simmons to drop the items and come outside to talk to him. According to police, Simmons would not listen and kept spraying different items, lighting them on fire.
When Patrolman McMillon arrived, he entered the basement with Sergeant Alkire II and drew his taser. After refusing commands from both officers to drop the lighter and can, Simmons set the ceiling and duct work on fire. At this point, Patrolman McMillon used his taser so they could get the situation under control.
Once police got Simmons out of the house, the fire department was able to put out the fire.
Simmons was charged with one count of attempted murder, arson and assault of an officer without a weapon. He is being held at Southern Regional Jail, his bail is set at $75,000.