Fireworks and Molotov cocktails lead to SWAT standoff in NE Harris County

July 5, 2013 3:44:12 PM PDT
A fight between neighbors over a firecracker leads to a fire and then a SWAT standoff. Now a man who held deputies at bay is facing charges.

The argument started early Friday morning and deputies say the man arrested had actually thrown Molotov cocktails on his neighbor's house. It all unfolded on Timber Springs Drive in Atascocita.

Victim Jason Bergener recalled, "We heard a thump, came outside and the roof was on fire."

Bergener admits he capped of July 4th festivities doing something he shouldn't have.

"It was 2 o'clock in the morning, and I popped off a firework in my backyard," he said.

That firework drove an angry neighbor, Michael Kuykendall, to put up a fight from across the fence.

"A couple bricks came flying into our yard," Bergener said. "One of them almost hit my roommate. He picked it up and threw it back into his yard. Then we went inside."

"From a verbal altercation to what he did, there's no excuse," said Deputy Thomas Gilliland with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say Kuykendall eventually tossed at least one Molotov cocktail onto Bergener's roof.

"It's very dangerous," said Deputy Gilliland. "It's an accelerant, gasoline or anything that he's using. It could've caught fire to the home, with the weather we've had lately, it could have spread to other homes."

"I have a little son, six months old and it really gets to me," said neighbor Bryant Lawrence. "It scares me because I don't know what kind of people are in the neighborhood."

While Bergener and his roommate used a broom to put out the fire, investigators surrounded Kuykendall's house. For five hours he refused to come out. A woman and two six-month-old babies were inside with him.

"Once we learned there were children there also, that was a big factor in trying to get this settled quickly," Deputy Gilliland said.

The standoff ended with Kuykendall's peaceful surrender and a tough lesson for Bergener on waking up neighbors at 2am.

He said, "I was absolutely crazy."

Kuykendall, 27, was charged late Friday afternoon with arson. Investigators tell us he has an extensive criminal history.

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