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Waukesha police: Same suspect behind burning of woman, torching vehicles and striking elderly man

Posted at 6:57 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 09:45:17-04

WAUKESHA — Waukesha police now say two fiery incidents that hit the area Wednesday are in fact linked.

Police tell TMJ4 that the suspect arrested after a woman was set on fire while walking her dogs is the same person who was arrested after allegedly torching two vehicles and a workshop and striking a man with a car.

Both incidents led to the 'lock-out' of Waukesha schools Wednesday morning.

The woman who was burned was rushed to the hospital. She is now in a burn unit.

According to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office, the suspect is 39 years old.

Woman burned while walking dogs

Neighbors on Lake Street near Broadway in Waukesha say they heard a horrific yell as they were getting ready for work.

“You just hear bloody murder screaming,” said Daniel Finn.

Erin Duffy was on her porch looked over to see a woman screaming and running down the street.

“I saw her holding her holding her arms crossed, yelling for her dogs and screaming for help,” said Duffy.

Erin says the woman was badly burned on both of her arms. The victim ended up in Duffy’s yard calling out for her loose dogs.

“Every morning and every day she walks her dogs. And somebody passed her and she said she heard them turn around and she thought somebody was throwing a bottle until she realized it was more than a bottle. It was gasoline,” said Duffy.

Duffy said that’s when the man lit the woman on fire. Her arms were badly hurt.

“It was just peeling skin and burns,” said Duffy.

“She is a quiet person and she’s nice. And we want her to know we love and support her,” said Fred Hess.

Authorities say the dogs were located and OK.

Torching of cars and striking man

A 39-year-old set two vehicles and a workshop on fire and and hit another man with a car in the Village of Waukesha Wednesday morning, according to the authorities.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Office says that deputies were called to S53 W26445 Fox Vale Court in the Village of Waukesha just after 9 a.m. for a report of a structure fire.

There, deputies learned that the 39-year-old had allegedly hit an 83-year-old man with a vehicle. The older man was sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

An initial investigation has found that the younger man allegedly set two vehicles on fire, one in an attached garage and other parked in the driveway. Both vehicles were extinguished by homeowners, the sheriff's office said.

Suspect in custody after woman set on fire in Waukesha, leading to school lockouts

Authorities further believe that the suspect may have also set a detached workshop on fire. The damage to that building was significant, the sheriff's office said.

Lieutenant Nicholas Ollinger says the sheriff's office believes that a lone actor is behind the fires, and that there is no longer a threat to the community.

The fire is under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation.

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