NEW PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) - By some accounts, the early Thursday morning fire at a Pasco County sheriff's deputy's house were the result of poor decisions of a mentally unbalanced individual.
To Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, the situation was an alarm to law enforcers and a warning to law breakers.
The sheriff says a man stumbled across a marked vehicle parked in front of Deputy Ryan Lennox's home. The man put his fingerprints on the windshield. Then, he started a small fire on a piece of furniture on the deputy's front porch, and knocked on the door.
Deputy Lennox answered the door with his sidearm behind his back and K9 Deputy Jango at his side, along with his another pet dog.
However, the incident began hours before the man showed up on Deputy Lennox's front porch.
Sheriff Nocco said 30-year-old Daniel Thomas Hall of Hudson had an argument with his sister, with whom he lives, at around 3 a.m.
He apparently told her "I'm going out tonight to get arrested."
Nocco said Hall has a history of arrests, mostly for burglaries, but nothing to suggest he was a danger to law enforcers. Nocco did have a clear message for anyone who may consider targeting officers during a troubled time.
"If you try to break into one of our houses, we will use any force necessary to stop you and drop you in your tracks," Nocco told reporters Thursday afternoon. "Our deputies and their family members are absolutely going to be trained on how to protect themselves, and if that means using deadly force, so be it."
A neighbor, Charles Nicholson, said Hall has "...mostly been in and out of facilities, from what I understand, and can't get the help that he needs so they release him and then he has to go back in there."
"I think it was just he wanted some help and it was the wrong way to go about it and I'm happy the officer didn't shoot him," Nicholson said.
Deputy Lennox had Hall wait in the yard while more deputies came to arrest him. He is now charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling and arson of an occupied dwelling, which is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. He is being held in the Pasco county jail.