Man Accused Of Lighting Girlfriend’s Son On Fire

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A 54-year-old man is in custody after police say he sprayed his girlfriend’s son with lighter fluid and set him on fire.

The St. Paul Police Department is investigating the incident, which occurred before 7 a.m. Wednesday at a residence at 1374 Ames Ave. in St. Paul.

Nicholas Harsted, a neighbor, was the one who alerted police.

“Never expected it,” he said. “When I opened the door, I seen he was burnt all over his chest, his arms, his face. His hands were pretty torn up and he was asking for help.”

When officers arrived, they saw Antoine Willis, 19, of St. Paul, with serious burns. Investigators say his mother’s boyfriend, Curtis Reed, also of St. Paul, sprayed Willis with lighter fluid and set him on fire.

“It appears (Willis) may have been asleep when this happened,” said St. Paul Police Officer John Keating.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Adam Carter Reports

Soon after Harsted called police, Christina Vang’s mother turned around to find Reed inside her home. He, too, was looking for help.

“He came over and asked to borrow the phone, and he had a bloody nose. He said his family had a fight, that’s all,” Vang said.

Reed did not mention that his girlfriend’s son was on fire, just minutes earlier. Police would later say Reed was the one who lit the match.

“He was really friendly. I didn’t think he’d do that,” Vang said.

St. Paul Fire Paramedics transported Willis to Regions Hospital. He is in fair condition.

“The injuries are not life threatening, but the burns that the victim suffered are very serious,” Keating said.

Reed was taken into custody but has not been charged.

Investigators say several people may have been involved in a physical dispute inside the residence hours prior to the assault. That’s the same story that Willis told Harsted.

“Curtis and his mom were fighting. He stepped in to help her out and when they got done fighting, Curtis told him not to go to sleep,” Harsted said.

It was a threat once thought to be empty that could have cost a man his life.

“He had said that he lit him on fire, that he was trying to kill him,” Harsted said.

Police will continue to investigate that altercation and the details that led up to the assault.

More from Rachel Slavik
  • dan

    Death Penalty. Period.

  • TwinsRAwesome

    Let’s do the same to him. Maybe in public or on pay per view! Eye for an eye!

    • Huxley

      Yeah, great idea. The same way Iran or many other muslim countries would handle it. Or should we stone him to death? Death penalty dan can throw the first rock.

      • Wow Just Wow

        We’ve already segregated these people to neighborhoods on the edge of society, I guess mass executions are in order?

  • The Architect

    Maybe he was justified. Nobody knows what “Antoine Willis” may have done to earn a face burning.

    • Upset

      Architect, No body deserves to be burned. They need to bring back the death penalty in cases like this.

      • The Architect

        Alphonso Rodriguez deserved to be burned.

        You stand corrected.

        As far as your death penalty comment, what exactly do you know about the incident in the article? Were you an eyewitness?

    • Claire

      The report said he was sleeping at the time of the incident. I suppose to condone shooting someone in the back as well.

    • Kim

      He was asleep, he doesn’t deserve to be lit on fire.

      • The Architect

        That was not in the initial article, which now has changed several times.

  • normal woman

    And what could anyone do that would deserve this treatment and make it “justified?” I’ll stay far away from you and hope that you don’t ever do anything to “deserve” burning to end a dispute!

    • The Architect

      There are a thousand things a person like Antoine Willis might have done that would earn a harsh punishment. I’m not saying he did any of them or that it was deserved. But to jump to the conclusion that this dipstick just busted into Antoine Willis’ room and hosed him with lighter fluid is not logical.

      What do you suppose Antoine was doing up before 7am in a fight with his mom’s boyfriend? Hmmmmm… Just getting ready to go to his job as an accountant I’m sure…

      • Kate

        You’re jumping to conclusions that he deserved it. Why don’t you wait to find out what actually happened?

        The guy was sleeping. Hardly a current threat to anyone. Unless you consider snoring to be an exacutable offense.

        • The Architect

          What? I wasn’t jumping to any conclusions. I was doing the opposite. I was saying you don’t know what precipitated it.

          The sleeping part was not in the article I commented on, Kate.

      • em0886

        umm wow…really?! why would you question what he was doing up?? maybe the fight woke him up and he went to help his mom…what is wrong with people?! He didn’t deserve to be burned…I am for the death penalty when the crime fits. He admitted to doing it so it’s not like we would be executing an innocent man.

        • The Architect

          I think you’re under the mistaken impression that I’m saying it was warranted.

          I’m not. I was only (slightly tongue in cheek) saying we didn’t know what got this guy so cheesed off that he torched the dude while he was spooning with his mom on the couch.

  • Anna

    I feel so sad for the young man only 19! And there is no reason to burn anyone haven’t u ever heard just walk away and don’t deal with certain people anymore if your having trouble in your life. My prayers are with Mr. Willis

    • The Architect

      How old are you, Anna? Honest question…

      • Anna

        @the Archietect why how old does it sound like I am? The story said there were arguments going on in the house (that probably happens daily) so either this stepdad or the mom and her son all should have parted ways before it went this far. Obviously they are in that home for a reason maybe they cannot afford to go anywhere else or maybe this stepdad is living off willis mom who knows i am old enough and have seen many different types of people. I wish they would have walked away before this happened.

        • The Architect

          Under 25. For sure.

          • Kate

            How is her age relevant, what does it have to do with the story and her opinion on it?

            • anna

              Thank you Kate! I wonder why he felt it was important to know how old I am but hey to each their own. Only important issue here is young Willis I hope everything works out for him he is going to have trouble trusting anyone for the rest of his life. He many even come out of this hateful and voilent I hope he receives counseling.

              • Kate

                His way of feeling superior. You know, he is such a fabulous judge of other people.
                where to draw the line between standing up to bullies and feeding the trolls.

                • The Architect

                  I am not trying to be superior or bully anybody and I’m insulted you would not only assume it, but flat out accuse me of it.

                  I was asking, because her opinion was delivered in a manner I felt was exhibiting the slightly naive and idealistic viewpoint coming from youthfulness.

                • Kate

                  Yes, I am accusing you of acting like you think you’re superior to her and trying to bully others that don’t agree that it is ok to light people on fire.
                  Her age isn’t relevant to what her opinion is. I would guess she is a bit older because she commented that 19 seems so young and thought there were other issues. An awareness of the complexity of life and that bad things happen, but hoing things get better doesn’t sound naive and idealistic to me.
                  Lighting someone on fire is not the way to resolve a dispute, regardless of what the person did in the past. If the person did something horrible then call the police.
                  Address the substance of the comment, not the commenter.

                • The Architect

                  You’re wrong, Kate. I’m not doing that. I made no effort to “bully” anybody. Also, if you actually read my comments, I posted it was “tongue in cheek” and said I do not believe this person’s actions warranted being torched.

                  Did you fail to read that or did you fail to comprehend what I meant? One of the two happened. Either way, I’m telling you that you misinterpreted my comments.

          • em0886

            Who cares?! she is right about walking away and being an adult..violence is never okay!

            • The Architect

              I am not contesting that point about walking away or about being an adult, my friend.

              But there are definitely situations where violence is ok. However, this does not appear to be one of those situations.

  • Mark

    Reading all of the hate filled comments on here, make me wish everyone would watch the original “12 Angry Men” with Henry Fonda. A great film with a powerful message

    • Bill

      The best character in that movie was played by Jack Klugman.

      • The Architect

        My favorite Henry Fonda film was On Golden Pond.

        • Architect's Boss

          Architect, get back to work. Why do you think 40% of us are unemployed.

          • The Architect

            I’m off at 3:30 and am just waiting around for my weekly 1 on 1 with my manager. He actually asked our team if we wanted to go walk a few laps around the basement of the building for a break. Might have to take a break and go walk for a bit and do some gossip.

    • em0886

      Excellent movie!


    i’m sure a few weeks of counseling will be enough to fixem up

  • Trudy B

    Anybody that would do that to a child should be locked up for life – he does not deserve a chance to father any kids or be around anyone else’s kids. He obviously has an anger problem. Sickening that someone would hurt a child like that whether they were causing problems or not. To go ahead and make the decision to actually start the fire and go through with it. Completely barbaric and disconnected from emotional pain. Who wants someone like that on the streets?

    • The Architect

      I didn’t see any “child” mentioned in the article. Please clarify.

      • Sara

        @architect. I believe Trudy was calling him a child because he was the son of Curtis’s girlfriend. Therefore he is the child in the house. That’s what i am assuming at least. And quite frankly it shouldn’t matter. Curtis burned him severely… it doesn’t matter who they are or how old they are, no one deserves to be “punished” like that. Period.

        • The Architect

          Well, quite frankly, it DOES matter in the eyes of the law because they are two separate crimes.

          My only point is that a 19 year old cannot be a child in the eyes of the law or the court. There is no precedent to say that would be the case.

          That is all. Merely a point of clarification. There were no children identified in the story.

          • likeme

            Dam dude, you have people coming at you from every angle. Did that walk around the basement of the building for your break relax you? You take this stuff so personal. I bet you comment on every story & use different names. And you sure have alot of free time. I thought architects were very busy people. Better hope your boss don’t catch you online.

            • The Architect

              I’m not taking it personally at all. I do not comment on every story OR use different names…. Much….

              I am very busy a lot. But often, I wait for responses from people, and then complete work from home at night.

              My boss has no problem with web surfing. He has a problem with people not completing their work well and on time and that isn’t a problem I have.

  • yeppers

    It is a crime done to a child. He will not even go to prison.

    • em0886

      He will go to prison just probably not long enough.

  • Jay

    I dont give a rats behind what this young man said or did, NO ONE desserves to be punished like this! The story says he was asleep, what kind of irrational behavior such as lighting another person on fire justifies that? A good many of us have disagreements, and get mad as hell at someone, but we DONT do something like this. We walk away, let things cool down. before discussing the event. WHY do you think killing someone, disfiguring a person, is the answer? I HOPE Mr Reed pays dearly for this tagedy.

    • annd

      I agreee with Jay! Jay knows what he is talking about, I said the same thing but then was called a little girl.

      • Sue

        Just because someone said you were wrong for saying noone deserves to be lit on fire doesn’t mean they are in touch with reality. Non-mentally ill people don’t think that is the way to handle a conflict.

      • The Architect

        False. At no time were you called “a little girl.”

  • v

    Architect needs a job, better things to do, and a psychological examination.
    Either that or he’s another 40 year old hovering over his Mom’s computer in the basement. What happened, Architect… did she yank your Lava Life account?

    • The Architect

      What’s lava life?? I must be out of touch.
      I have a job. I’m an architect for a Fortune 500 company. What do YOU do?
      I’m not 40 yet. But what’s with the mom’s computer, mom’s basement comment? That’s so played out. Come on, man.

      • weird argument

        Dude you lie.

        • The Architect

          Dude, where’s your car?

          • weird argument

            In the parking ramp, why?

      • Billy

        Hey Architect,

        Please tell us all how you got this great title with only 2 years in school? What school did you attend?

      • v

        Fortune 500 companies don’t staff Architect’s, you moron. They hire firms.
        Now get back to cleaning your hamster cage.

        Oh, and I could tell you what I do. Like you, I could make something up…. or I could tell you the truth. What’s the point? Your nonsensical commentary here tells everyone just one thing. You’re bored and you like to ruffle feathers. I feel sad for you actually.

        • The Architect


          My company has a whole department of architects, my friend.

          Why are you so insulted by this? Why does my life bother you so much that you take this much time to try and discredit me? How very sad for you that you think a life like mine is so far-fetched that it’s simply impossible.

          I don’t know if I should laugh or shake my head in empathy.

          • Billy

            Again Architect,

            What school did you graduate from with that great 2 year achitecture degree? We are waiting……………………….

            • The Architect

              And again, I don’t have an architecture degree. I have a job as an architect.

              I’m not spouting about how great my life is, Bella. I’m defending myself against the insults of those who think I am in a basement on my mom’s computer and am 50, overweight and on welfare. Please calm down.

              • Billy

                So you are not an architect then. Thats like saying you are an Attorney but never graduated from Law school or a Doctor that never passed the Boards. This just gets better every day and I agree with the other posters that yes, you certainly still live with your mom!

                • The Architect


                  My job title has the word architect in it. I’m not asking you. I’m telling you.

                  I don’t do drafting. I do not design buildings. Please get this through your head.

                  My mom lives 40 miles from me, and I have a nicer house than she does anyway, although she does live on a lake.

              • Bella

                You are a piece of work! I have a bigger house than mommy! Where do you come up with this stuff? Good Luck in the dating scene as I cant imagine any guy who would fall for you?

                • The Architect

                  What’s with the insults? Do you not like me or something, Bella? What did I do to you to make you so mad?

                  I don’t need the dating scene. I am happily married with children already.

              • Billy

                Title: Architect Gopher, Architect Assistant, Architect Eraser Boy –See there are lots of titles that have architect in it, but it doesnt mean you are an Architect.

                • The Architect

                  My title is Network Architect.

                  And yes, it means I’m an architect. I’m sorry that makes you so upset. I don’t know why it does, but obviously it really bugs you. I hope your life starts to take a turn for the better soon, my friend.


              • em0886

                This has gone way too far and is rather ridiculous…just because someone is on welfare does not mean they are overweight or living with their parents. Why is everyone so mean and judgmental on here?! It’s sad to see this is how we treat each other. Just because you have a good job and nice house does not make you better than anyone.

                • The Architect

                  If you were actually reading any of this, em, you would see that I am not the one perpetuating this little insult contest. It seems I have followers on here who find my comments and then proceed to entertain themselves by posting and insinuating false things about me. We call this jealousy and envy. I’m certainly not better than a lot of people. More successful and happy, possibly.

                  But happiness is a state of mind, not a checkbook balance.

          • v

            Why didnt you just say your were a computer nerd rather than pretending to be an Architect

            • The Architect

              Because the title is an earned one, and I am not just a computer nerd. I’m not pretending anything. I’m a network architect. I make decisions on architecture and assign tasks to people to implement my decisions. And being an architect is more than just being “good with computers.”


              LOL!! :)

        • Bella

          that’s funny!! Who else spouts about how much they make and how great their life is on a news story blog. What an obvious fake this guy is!

    • Mel

      Agree! He is just absolutely radiculous. A psych eval would likely have some scary conclusions.

  • Kaiser

    Architect….there is something not right about you. normal people would come leave their thoughts and go on with their way….. you seem to be compensating for some other things happening in your life…..I’d say take a back seat and think about this… its a real serious advice

    • Bella


      He is compensating for the fact that he is not an Architect. He claims he has a 2 year degree and now he is a licensed Architect. Any fool knows this takes at least 6 years to complete the full course and understudy work. We will just call him a glorified draftsman!

      • Kieron

        He’s nothing more than an ITG: Internet Tough Guy.

        • The Architect

          I have no interest in being an “internet tough guy.”

          I am posting my opinions just as you are. If you don’t like them, feel free to disagree. But to take it to this level of personal insult is just way out of bounds.

          As an aside, yes I am an architect, but Bella doesn’t realize that not all architects draw pictures of buildings.

      • The Architect

        I don’t need a license to be the kind of architect I am, Bella.

        Why are you continuing the insults? Have I done something to you that you need to get me back for or something? Honest question. What’s up?

        • Bella

          I just cant stand people who make up fake lives on line to impress others. You obviously are trying to make up for something.

          • The Architect


            I’m not here to impress you or anybody else. I was insulted, and I responded, and you can’t stand my answer. Well I’m REEEEEEEEEAL sorry that my life bugs you and is so impossible for you to believe.

            Yours must be a real trash heap to keep this insult string going, Bella. Is it because you have a weight problem? Boyfriend keeps kicking your butt? What is it? Did I say something that makes you hate a total stranger and wish bad things to happen? Which is it?

            • Bella

              That’s the best laugh I have had all morning. Keep up the insults, I love a good roasting!
              I can tell you have thin skin so I will ease up a bit, but seriously keep it coming, I love it!

              • The Architect

                Huh? I’m asking you your motivation for the insults, and instead you post that you think I am insulting you?

                What planet are you coming from, Bella? I don’t understand what your point is in this. Help me out here. You insult me over and over and then claim a laugh at an insult I allegedly made, although I didn’t make one?

                I was asking a question. Are you not willing or able to answer it?

                • Bella

                  I guess in your basement office trash heap, weight problem and abusive boyfriend comments are not your futile attempts at insults.
                  Maybe mommy will take you out for icecream today

                • Bella

                  As I posted earlier, my motivation is your obvious fake persona online.

                • em0886

                  Get off of here!! You are so annoying! Seems like maybe you are the one in the basement with the weight problem and everything else you are accusing him of. You seriously are wasting space on this page!

                • The Architect

                  I like you even more now, em. :)

                  I really don’t know why so many people hate me and my comments. They’re just comments on a news story. It really isn’t worth getting all worked up over. It’s definitely not worth insulting me this much over. I mean dang.

                  Why wouldn’t I say something more impressive if I was going to make something up? I would pretend to have my sister’s profession if that was the case. She’s much more successful than I am.

                • The Architect

                  I don’t have any fake personas, sorry.

                  But I can tell you that your insults are all falling flat. My only curiosity is why you keep insulting me anyway?

                  I’ve asked before and will ask again… What’s up? You hate a stranger now? Is it really worth you getting all worked up and trying unsuccessfully to rip on me?

                  Everything I’ve said is true. Believe it or not, I couldn’t give a toot. Your insults will not get me to stop commenting on these articles.

          • em0886

            Bella get a life, honestly!! Who are you to pass judgment on others and make the decision of whether or not he’s lying. Why would someone go through all that trouble to say that?

  • Gloria

    For one thing, we don’t know who was involved in the previous altercation. The young man may not have even participated in that, Reed may have been attacking Willis’ mother, or other people may have also been there. What this monster did was horrendous–doesn’t matter what occurred prior to it.

    • The Architect

      For all we know Antoine Willis was attacking his own mother.

      Either way, those details aren’t out.

  • poof

    nuttin in past justifies this – burn the ol’ fart with kerosene and save me the cost

  • Mel

    To “The Architect”: You’ve got serious problems. I’ve seen your comments under different articles and you are just radiculous. I seriously doubt a fortune 500 company would hire somebody like you. Get a life. Seriously.

    • The Architect

      Is your life so bad that mine seems an impossibility to you? I feel bad for you that you think a life like mine is so unattainable that you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to insult me after I comment on news articles.

      You don’t think that’s a bit sad? My company is technically in the top 100 of the Fortune 500 which is a different classification, but I’m sure that means nothing to you anyway.

      I have a great life. It really couldn’t be much better. I have to wonder why that bothers you so much.

      • mel

        Keep living in LaLa land Architect. I guess you just hav e a great imagination

        • The Architect

          What does that comment even MEAN?

          Why keep the insults coming, mel? What is your reason for continuing the non-stop insults? I want to know.

      • just me

        Yep…..I can tell you have a great life. You just enjoy logging on to play devil’s advocate against any person potrayed as a victim, don’t ya? Home life not to happy? Wife not putting out? Children a bother…oh wait……maybe they’re young adults and spending money on daddy’s credit card and you’ve HAVE to go to work to just bring home a paycheck….. Because it’s obvious that once you leave work at 3:30 in the afternoon….there are no more ugly incidious remarks from your IP address. SO, you must have your hands full at home, eh? What is this forum to you? Something to get your rocks off before going home for the day to the wife and ungrateful offspring you have? Oh wait, you’re a gread student….doing a psychology study on how to get under people’s skin….. You must be laughing your A$$ off….giggling…….power stroking your ego……

        I think you’re a closet psycho………and your wife is right to not put out anymore.


        • The Architect


          This comment at least made me laugh out loud in my cube farm.

          You’re right on one point, and I think one point only. I do like to play devil’s advocate and then watch the screechers come out enraged with their pants around their ankles. I confess. It’s funny to me.

          I don’t own credit cards. Not one. I pay cash for everything. I do have one young adult daughter. It’s actually her birthday today!

          On our anniversary a couple years ago, my wife bought me a squirt bottle for me to use when I couldn’t keep up with her. I very much do not have the issue you suggested.

          I loved your post and look forward to reading more of them, “justme”.

  • justaxnspend

    Obvoiusly none of you have tried to reason with a teenager or worse yet
    gotten in a fight with one !!

    • Sue

      So you light them on fire while they’re sleeping? Yea, that is a good way to deal with it.

  • anna

    honey that is really harsh. I think it just depends on how people were raised and what their home environment/environment they came from. Also depends on the men that they have around them. If the men around you are voilent you may turn out to be as violent as well. Everyone is different and I do not think American black males are the most voilent people in America

    • Jeff "Gangsta" J

      Yeah, anna… males are not the most “voilent” people in America…..just like 80% of black mothers are not single, and 75% of black people are not on Welfare.


      • anna

        those are some high numbers u have there

      • Jay

        YOU are a racist!! We white people arent any damned better, we commit just as many crimes, kill and injure just as many people, and have the audacity to blame another for being worse ? Where do you get off!!!!!

        • Kevin

          Really? You watch the news?????

  • someone who KNOWS

    The Architect……previously known as Les Johnston……need I say more?

  • another hard up chick

    Nice going mom. What’s with these women that let criminals around their kids?

  • MizzLove

    The Architect I like you, we should talk…. :)

    • The Architect

      Have you seen the commercial for Treasure Island (I think?) Where the fat guy with the big curly hair gets a Blackjack and sees the girl next to him at the table giving him the eye? That’s what I’m picturing right now. LOL

  • JKB

    Its no damned wonder why there is so much violence, READ how you fools think! I hope all this smart-a$$ talk is just that!

  • Jake

    I guess that this guy couldn’t find a big enough microwave oven to stuff this kid into, throwing lighter fluid on him and lighting a match must have been the next best thing.

  • me

    I guess we can file this under, “When keep’n it real goes wrong.”

  • Kevin

    Aint diversity grand?

    • Kim

      The guy’s skin color isn’t relecant to his behavior. There are plenty of pasty-white-skinned people that do bad things.

  • East Side Goons

    Welcome to the East Side! What’s New?

    • Nothing left but welfare trash

      The cops had been to that home 30 times. Glad i moved years ago.

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