Arson Suspect Identified in Church Fire – Has History of Calling Bomb Threats
BROOKSVILLE – On Sunday, RNRF broke the news of a suspicious fire that damaged the Lake Lindsey United Methodist Church. ORIGINAL REPORT: FIRE SEVERELY DAMAGES BROOKSVILLE CHURCH – ARSON SUSPECTED
Arson investigators now say they a person of interest in the case and charges are pending.
The following statement was released by officials earlier today:
On 06-14-15 at approximately 10:15 a.m., Hernando County deputies and Hernando County Fire/Rescue were dispatched to the Lake Lindsey Methodist Church located at 22400 Lake Lindsey Road in Brooksville regarding a Commercial Structure Fire.
Upon arrival, units discovered that multiple separate fires had been set within two buildings at the church. It was also discovered that a wedding had been scheduled for later in the afternoon and a portion of the church, the gathering hall, had been pre-set with table settings and wedding decorations.
Investigators determined that specific areas were lit, possibly indicating a preference or anger targeted at the bride’s side of the event.
Investigators working together from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, the Fire Marshal’s Office, and the ATF quickly developed a “person of interest” in the arson.
David Willmott Jr. W/M DOB/05-14-1991, who is a trustee of the church, was the first to arrive on scene when the fire was reported. Willmott also has a history of calling in bomb threats to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. Several investigative leads including Willmott’s proximity to the fire, combined with his past behavior, led investigators in his direction.
On 06-16-15, Detective Royce Leggett (HCSO) conducted an interview with Willmott. Post Miranda, Willmott admitted to starting the fires at the Lake Lindsey Methodist Church. No clear motive could be determined. Willmott provided specific details regarding the crime scene, verifying the credibility of his confession.
A warrant is forthcoming for the arrest of Willmott.
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