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Former Maryland police chief charged with setting multiple fires

The Hill logo The Hill 3/4/2021 Sarah Polus
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A former Maryland police chief was arrested Wednesday on charges of attempted murder in connection to several fires around the state over the span of almost a decade.

David Crawford of Ellicott City, Md., is accused of starting at least 12 fires between 2011 and 2020, each targeting one of his perceived enemies, officials said during a press conference Thursday.

The former police chief, who retired in 2010, has been charged with at least 12 counts of attempted first-degree murder, 12 counts of attempted second-degree murder and multiple counts of arson, The New York Times reports.

Police found a "target list" during a search of his home listing the names of some of the victims, which helped lead to the conclusion of a years-long investigation, officials noted, adding that Crawford knew all of the victims.

Crawford is accused of targeting a former Laurel official, a former Laurel police chief, two of his former law enforcement colleagues, two family members, two of his former doctors and one of his neighbors, NBC News reports.

Jennifer Donelan, director of public information for the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department, said during the press conference that none of the victims were civilians that Crawford had encountered while serving in law enforcement.

Detective Thomas Smith with the Prince George's Police Department noted that the incidents tended to take place at night when the victims were sleeping, around 3 a.m. Smith said he typically targeted inhabited homes, although there were incidents of him setting cars ablaze, as well.

Crawford, who worked in law enforcement for more than three decades, sometimes targeted the same residence more than once, officials said.

No one was harmed over the course of his spree, however he caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage, the Times added.

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