By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis police are continuing to investigate a deadly arson in Minneapolis.

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.

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.

Early Saturday morning, residents called police, saying the arsonist back at the scene.

Police arrested 30-year-old Marcus Dewayne Shanks. He is being held in the Hennepin County Jail.

Residents say Shanks was not a resident but often visited the building.

“We lost an innocent community member because of somebody’s foolishness,” Tesch said.

The manager of the building declined to comment.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has until noon Tuesday to file charges in this case.


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