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RACINE, WIS. — A 36-year-old Racine man was apprehended on Sunday, Feb. 19, for arson after allegedly setting his apartment on fire on purpose and fleeing the building without alerting the family upstairs or calling 911.

Racine County Sheriff: Cole admitted to arson

According to a press release from the Racine County Sheriff’s Office, Marcus A. Cole admitted to lighting a facial tissue on fire and placing it inside a paper bag before throwing the bag on his mattress. He also told deputies he exited the house but did not let his neighbors, who have a two-year-old child, know they were in danger. He also did not call 911.

The family escaped and were waiting in a running vehicle when firefighters arrived. The child was treated for smoke inhalation.

Marcus A. Cole, arson
Marcus A. Cole admitted to arson after allegedly starting his apartment on fire. – Photo courtesy Racine County Sheriff’s Office

Cole was transported to the hospital for medical clearance before being booked into the Racine County Jail on charges of arson and second-degree intentionally endangering safety. He was admitted for an unrelated medical condition, and deputies were assigned to around-the-clock guard duty.

At about 1 a.m. Monday, Feb. 20, Cole attacked the deputy on duty. Fearing for his life, the deputy fired his weapon, striking Cole with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound for which he was treated.

Additional deputies have been assigned guard duty, and the Kenosha County Sheriff is investigating the shooting. The deputing involved has been placed on administrative leave. It is unclear what additional charges Cole may face when he is in court for his initial appearance, possibly later this week.

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