Arson suspects were caught after chase behind burned home

The intense fire on Oct. 8 melted headlights on the car parked at 2117 Harrisburg Road. This photo, taken on Oct. 25, shows the remnants of the near-fatal crime from that day. Photo by Stan Morris | NEA Report

Second teen, Johnathan Schultz, will be charged as an adult over nearly-fatal blaze

JONESBORO, Ark. – A short time before noon on October 8 at 2117 Harrisburg Road in Jonesboro, a fire almost killed a local woman.

The homeowner’s daughter ran into the burning home and was rescued by the Jonesboro Fire Department. She had to be resuscitated on the scene and has been fighting for her life in the Med in Memphis, where she is receiving round-the-clock care in the ICU.

Fire officials began an immediate investigation. Evidence was located at the scene indicating suspects had broken a window on the backside of the residence and then set the fire intentionally.

As authorities investigated into the following day, a lead fell into their lap. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, JFD Fire Marshals noticed three males walking from a wooded area nearby the burned home. The three were walking from behind a residence that adjoins the burned residence’s property. Marshals tried to contact the suspects but two of the young men fled. One was carrying a duffel bag. He wasn’t fast enough.

Authorities caught up to the bag-carrying suspect behind 2116 Harrisburg Road. The suspect was identified as Johnathan Schultz. In his possession was a bag with two stolen handguns inside.

Further investigation led police to learn Schultz was carrying property stolen from 2510 Rosewood Circle. That residence had been broken into through a back window – just like was done at 2117 Harrisburg, before the nearly-fatal fire was set.

Fire ravaged this home earlier this month. It sits on Harrisburg Road as a grim reminder of how callous and careless some humans can be. Photo by Stan Morris | NEA Report

Schultz will be charged as an adult. He is currently in jail on a $75,000 bond. In his first appearance in court, probable cause was found to hold Shultz on these charges:

  • Arson (Class Y Felony; Up to 40 years or life in prison)
  • Residential Burglary (Class B Felony; Up to 20 years in prison)
  • Theft of a firearm valued over $2,500 (Class C Felony; Up to 10 years in prison)
  • Theft from a building (Class A Misdemeanor; Up to one year in prison)

In addition to Schultz being charged as an adult, at least one other suspect will be, too. Gabriel Walton, 17 of Jonesboro, is facing the same charges except for the theft of a firearm charge. Walton is being held in lieu of a $250,000.00 bond.

A 16-year-old suspect, who police have not publicly identified, is also facing charges and could be charged as an adult as well.

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