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RACINE – Two more people have been charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office in the June 1 arson fire that heavily damaged the Thelma Orr COP House, 1146 Villa St., during a night of protests, rioting and a confrontation with police.

Anthony A. McNeil, 27, and Jason A. Young, 30, both of Racine, were charged Wednesday with arson of a building and burglary of a building.

The charges carry a modifier of being party to a crime. McNeil was also charged with interference with firefighting. If convicted of the arson charges and burglary charges, McNeil and Young both face up to 52 years in prison and/or fines up to $125,000. The interference charge against McNeil carries a prison term of up to 4 years and/or fines up to $10,000.

Several protesters set the COP House on Villa Street on fire early Monday morning.

According to the criminal complaint, McNeil was identified in a surveillance video, social media video, and media outlet photos. McNeil was seen on video throwing a paving stone through a window at the COP House and entering the building’s rear door shortly before 2 a.m. June 1. He is also seen in a video adding fuel to a fire in the COP House kitchen and then coming back outside with a box of beverages and handing it to members of the mob outside.

Videos of COP House fire surface

The criminal complaint also states that McNeil is seen on video standing in front of a Racine Fire Department truck, that was responding to the fire, with a large metal stop sign on a pole.

A group of protesters started the COP Hous, 1146 Villa Street on fire during a riot early Monday morning. PHOTO BY Scott Anderson

In the criminal complaint, Young is seen in the video, shortly before 2 a.m. June 1, taking a large cinder block and throwing it at the COP House door. After the door broke, he makes enters the building. 

McNeil and Young admitted to investigators that they were at protest locations that night but denied going inside the COP House. McNeil admitted holding the metal pole in front of the fire engine but claimed he was helping the vehicle get through the crowd. He also admitted taking a beverage from someone who was offering them from the COP House but denied going inside.    Both men were being held in the Racine County Jail as of Thursday afternoon.

Two other people were previously charged in connection with the COP House fire. Justin Hernandez, 25, of Kenosha, and Kylie Gelmi, 20, of Mount Pleasant, were both charged with arson and burglary-building. Gelmi was also charged with felony bail jumping related to a previous charge.

What’s next

Cash bonds were set for both Hernandez and Gelmi. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for 8:45 a.m. July 1 at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave.

Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...