MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 30-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder in last weekend’s deadly fire in Minneapolis.
According to the criminal complaint, Marcus Dewayne Shanks is also facing a charge of first-degree arson.
Firefighters had to rescue some tenants from windows of 1500 Park Avenue Friday night. Resident Royce James, 59, jumped from a third story window and later died.
A woman who also jumped from the third floor remains in critical condition. She sustained burns to her hands, feet and face, and was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. The complaint says she suffered fractures to her femur and pelvis.
The complaint says both of them lived together on the third floor.
Iris Mitchell says she saw the arsonist, pouring what appeared to be lighter fluid inside the building.
“I seen some guy in the hallway,” she said. “He said, ‘I’m gonna set y’all on fire.'”
The fire spread quickly as frantic residents raced to escape the flames.
“I literally thought we were going to die,” said Jennifer Tesch, who was pulled out of a window by firefighters.
Shanks was arrested early Saturday morning after someone told police he was back at the scene. He was not a resident, and the criminal complaint lists his address as being at a nearby homeless shelter.
One witness said that he was known to them as “Memphis.”
Police believe that there were at least 20 residents in the apartment complex when the building caught fire.