Lacey arson suspect lit home on fire after waking up "confused and angry," court docs say

Staff writerMay 22, 2014 

A Lacey man told police he poured nail polish remover over a pile of clothes and lit a fire that destroyed a home on Ryan Street on Wednesday after he woke up from using drugs and was hearing voices, court papers state.

A judge found probable cause during a court hearing Thursday to hold the suspect, Travis Landshut, 24, on suspicion of first-degree arson.

Landshut was being held Thursday at the Thurston County Jail with bail set at $250,000.

Lacey firefighters and police were dispatched to the fire at a home in the 3700 block of Ryan Street SE about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. Construction workers reported to police that they heard glass breaking before the fire started.

According to court papers:

As firefighters extinguished the blaze, a Subaru arrived at the home. A man, one of Landshut’s roommates, got out and entered the carport to retrieve items inside. He told a police officer that Landshut had awakened and “was freaking out as if high on drugs.” The man said he and two other roommates left to get away from Landshut.

The roommate told the officer that he returned to the residence after an acquaintance called to tell him the house was on fire.

Police interviewed the owner of the residence, who told them that Landshut is his stepson. The owner said the home was in foreclosure, and Landshut and his three roommates were squatting there without his permission.

A witness said he saw Landshut walking down the street with a shirt wrapped around his hand after the fire started. The witness said he approached Landshut, who angrily ordered him to get away.

Lacey police located Landshut outside the Safeway at the intersection of College Street and Yelm Highway about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Lacey Police Cmdr. Jim Mack said.

Landshut told police he suffers from bipolar disorder and depression, but had not been taking his medications lately. However, police reported Landshut said he had been taking opiates, methamphetamine and cocaine.

Lanshut told police that he woke up Wednesday afternoon feeling “confused and angry.”

Landshut said he was upset because it seemed like people on television were talking about him and he was convinced that others were seeking to put him in jail. He said he turned off the television to silence the voices in his head, but his paranoia continued.

Landshut said he punched a hole in a door, smashed a mirror and smashed the television screen with a hammer. He decided if he was going to go to jail, he did not want his roommates to live at the home anymore, so he decided to light a room on fire using nail polish and a lighter, he said.

The Ryan Street home was destroyed by the fire.

Landshut told a detective that if he had access to a gun at the time, he would have shot and killed his roommates.

At the time of the fire, there was a warrant for Landshut’s arrest for violating a domestic violence protection order, Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Cailen Cecil Wevodau said in court.

Wevodau said Landshut was kicked out of mental health court earlier this year for failing to comply with a treatment program.

jpawloski@theolympian.com

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; jpawloski@theolympian.com

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