Two teens arrested in connection with string of arson fires in west Houston

Xavier McKnight, 19, is charged with one count of arson.

February 20, 2013 7:32:46 PM PST
Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with a string of arson fires in west Houston.

A 16-year-old male is charged with two counts of arson -- for a Jan. 6 fire at the Sheffield Square apartments on Perthshire and for a Jan. 12 fire on Country Place. Xavier McKnight, 19, is also charged with arson for the Perthshire fire.

When the apartment complex near her home was set on fire last January, Melva Jones got worried.

"I live in this neighborhood and I was like I wish they'd stop. You don't want to live in a neighborhood where people are setting fires. People could get hurt," said Jones.

So the last thing she expected was to find out her own son, Xavier McKnight, is now one of two people charged with the crime and is currently in jail.

"He was calling me on the phone. They have a $30,000 bond on him so they must have thought he did something," Jones told us.

Investigators believe McKnight and the other teen, a juvenile, could be responsible for more than a dozen fires set in the same area between last December and now.

Besides those apartment fires, investigators believe the duo also set two fires on the Spring Branch ISD campus, including dumpsters at Thornwood Elementary.

"It's sad. It's really, really sad. You can't make sense of it," said neighbor Becky Askew.

Both teens at some point went to Stratford High School, court documents state. Investigators say McKnight and the co-defendant told a witness, "We are the ones starting the fires." Another witness says McKnight stated he started the fires using a lighter and phone books.

It's all still too hard for a mother to comprehend.

"All I can do is apologize to the neighborhood. I don't know if he did it or not, but it's still a bad situation," said Jones.

The juvenile was already on probation for aggravated robbery and investigators say he was a suspect in a string of fires in 2011, but he was never charged.

The investigation is still active and more charges and more suspects are possible.

Since December 2012, HFD has responded to 12 intentionally set fires in the Memorial-Dairy Ashford area. Fortunately, no one has been hurt so far.

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