How very sad for this family..

Discussion in 'The Loafing Shed' started by Pixin, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Pixin

    Pixin New Member

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    Indiana's Lake County police start fund for cop who lost home in arson
    Lynwood officer's three children escaped Dec. 20 blaze that killed their 6 pets
    By Mary Owen | Tribune reporter
    January 7, 2009
    It was no secret that Kelly Johnson was a police officer. She wore her Lynwood Police Department uniform when she left the house and often parked a squad car in her driveway.

    Neighbors told her they felt safe when her squad car was there. But now the patrol officer said she and her family don't feel secure after their home in Dyer, Ind., was destroyed in a fire.

    The Dyer man charged in the Dec. 20 arson allegedly stood and watched the fire and later told police he set the blaze, in part, because he doesn't like cops.

    "We're supposed to be proud of what we do," Johnson said. "When someone like this uses it against you, it's just wrong."



    To help the Johnson family, the Lake County Police Department in Indiana has started the Kelly Johnson Benefit Fund. The single mother was already scraping by since she had been on disability for months because of a knee injury she suffered while answering a police call.

    But now, the family has lost nearly everything.

    Johnson was not at the raised bungalow during the 2 a.m. fire, but her three children-ages 11, 14 and 17-escaped with cuts, burns and smoke inhalation. The family's five dogs and cat died in the blaze in the 9200 block of Sheffield Street.

    Lake County Police Chief Marco Kuyachich, whose officers responded to the scene, said he wanted to help even though Johnson has no connections to the department.

    "She lives in our community, and she's a police officer," he said. "She's one of us."



    Christopher Costello, 23, who lives near the Johnson home has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of arson. Investigators first spoke to Costello the night of the fire when he was standing watching the blaze, officials said.

    Two days later, he admitted to starting the fire with his Zippo lighter and a nearby trash can, Kuyachich said.

    Costello told police he set the fire because he was angry about being rebuffed by a woman at a nearby bar earlier that night, Kuyachich said. He allegedly said he didn't like police officers and knew a female police officer lived in the house. He also said he knew the children were inside and watched the fire burn for at least 15 minutes, Kuyachich said.

    Johnson, a Lynwood police officer for six years, was nearby at a friend's house wrapping Christmas gifts. She said her children called her on her cell phone after they had escaped through windows. The family is staying with relatives in the area so her children can go to school.



    A Lake County judge ordered Costello held in lieu of $200,000 bail.



    People can donate to the fund by contacting the Lynwood Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 287, the First National Bank of Illinois in Lynwood or a First Midwest Bank in Indiana.

    mowen@tribune.com
     
  2. syndiego

    syndiego New Member

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    That's just horrible! Not too far from us, in fact my neice boards her horse on Sheffield in Dyer. She also went to high school with the evil little bastard.

    I'm assuming he'll be charged with attempted murder.

    I just re-read the article - it did say 3 counts of attempted murder and arson.
     

  3. Pixin

    Pixin New Member

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    Another article..


    Police: Officer's House Was Torched Because She's a Cop

    Last Edited: Tuesday, 06 Jan 2009, 5:23 PM CST
    Created: Tuesday, 06 Jan 2009, 5:23 PM CST


    Jarred by a case frightening in its randomness, Lake County (Ind.) police have set up a relief fund for a northwest Indiana woman whose home was apparently targeted for arson simply because she's a police officer.
    "We all accept a certain amount of danger when we take this job," Lake County Sheriff's Police Chief Marco Kuyachich said Monday. "We just don't expect that danger to spill out into our families."

    The Kelly Johnson Benefit Fund will go toward replacing the belongings Johnson -- a Lynwood patrol officer -- and her three children lost when their house burned Dec. 20.

    Christopher Allen Costello, 23, has been charged with attempted murder and arson in the fire, which started as Johnson's children slept inside. The children escaped with burns and scrapes, but five dogs and a cat died.

    Police are investigating whether a second man helped Costello set the fire while Johnson wrapped Christmas presents at a friend's home, according to Lake County Detective Cmdr. Shaw Spurlock.

    Costello, of Dyer, told police he set fire to the house in the 9200 block of Sheffield because he saw Johnson's squad car parked out front around 2 a.m., Spurlock said.

    "She's a cop, and I don't like cops in general," Costello reportedly told investigators during a three-hour interview.

    Costello also told investigators he knew there were children inside, according to Spurlock.

    Costello's attorney, Nick J. Thiros, could not be reached for comment Monday.

    Johnson, a six-year veteran of the Lynwood police, said she has never had any interaction with Costello. "It could have happened to any police officer," she said. "You just fear your family might be a target."

    Costello told police he had been rebuffed earlier that night by two women at Spanky's bar, about 10 blocks south of Johnson's home.

    "He has some issues," Spurlock said, noting Costello's lack of a job in addition to his romantic failures. "Something kicked in this night."

    Police responding to the blaze found Costello standing in the cold, watching the flames. He initially told officers he was a neighbor.

    But on Dec. 22, Costello admitted he lit a pile of garbage on fire near the back of the house and waited to make sure the structure was burning, according to Spurlock.

    Costello's criminal record consists of a lone misdemeanor arrest, Spurlock said.

    Investigators also are checking whether a man who was with Costello on Dec. 20 and dropped him off near the Johnson home may have played a larger role in the crime, Spurlock said.

    Donations to the Kelly Johnson Benefit Fund can be made at First Midwest Bank branches in the area.
     
  4. AppyGSP

    AppyGSP Senior Member

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    How terrible for these people! Punishments need to be more strict.

    Pixin: Do YOU worry about some psycho doing this to your place?

    We have a state cop as a neighbor and he works nights (11pm-7am) so even I worry about it.
     
  5. Mass

    Mass Senior Member and Masscaster

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    That is sick. I'm glad the family lived, but how sad to lose all your pets because of some asshole.
     
  6. HorseFarm

    HorseFarm New Member

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    How sad. To loose your family pets, after all they are like family, too, along with everything else. Just because some ass doesn't like you because of the job you do. Glad the kids are all right, but that still doesn't make a family feel any more secure.
     
  7. Shell

    Shell New Member

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    I'm a sentimental type of person, and it would hurt to also loose any sentimental belongings that can not be replaced.
    It's one thing to loose cherished items because of an electrical fire or tornado or something of the sort, BUT totally sucks and is Unforgivable when it's all destroyed because someone intentionally wanted to do harm to you, your family and to your home!
     
  8. Angellou

    Angellou Senior Member

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    Very mentally sick :mad: