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[Original Publish Date: 01/24/20]
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LEESBURG, Florida — A man who attacked two of his relatives — one of them a juvenile — with a baseball bat and set their home on fire shortly before midnight Friday is at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville receiving treatment for burns he suffered in the fire, said Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. Fred Jones
Lake County Sheriff’s deputies responded to an in-progress call at 1501 Grove Avenue, Leesburg involving a baseball bat attack and a threat to blow up the victims’ home, Jones said. “The suspect poured gasoline throughout the residence and eventually lit the home on fire,” Jones told Lake Legal News in an email.
According to an incident report, the juvenile victim told deputies William Crandall, 55, was “extremely intoxicated” and was arguing with him over petty matters. The juvenile was in his bedroom and heard his mother screaming and he rushed to her bedroom to find Crandall with his arm around the woman’s neck in a choke-hold. The juvenile attempted to free his mother and punched Crandall in the face. Crandall let go of the woman and grabbed a baseball bat and hit the juvenile in the back as he escaped the home with his mother. The juvenile went back into the house to retrieve his mother’s vehicle keys and noticed gasoline on the floor near the garage door.
The juvenile victim watched Crandall walk through the home — a home Crandall also lives in — and pour gas from a red gas can throughout the residence. The boy fled the home and went to his vehicle and began backing away from the home. The home began to smoke and the boy could see flames inside, the incident report states.
Crandall, clad in boxer shorts, ran to a neighbor’s house as deputies arrived and rang the neighbor’s doorbell. The neighbor told deputies he asked Crandall what was going on and Crandall stated he poured gas on the home and lit it. Crandall left the neighbor’s home and deputies took him into custody.
Lake County Fire Rescue, Leesburg Fire Department and Fruitland Park Fire Department responded to the fire and State Fire Marshall Mike Vitta also responded to the scene, according to the report.
Neither victim showed signs of injury, according to the report. They made it safely out of the fire, but Crandall suffered burns and was transported to Leesburg Regional Medical Center first for his injuries. “[LRMC] Medical personnel determined the suspect’s injuries required burn treatment and he was transferred and admitted to [UF Health] Shands Hospital in Gainesville,” Jones said.
A warrant for aggravated domestic battery and arson will be filed for Crandall’s arrest, Jones said.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]