Convicted arsonist arrested after starting Burney fires, resisting arrest

BURNEY, Calif. — Already on felony probation, a convicted arsonist was arrested again after a series of incidents that included lighting two fires, vandalizing a video dispensing machine, and then resisting arrest in the Intermountain area town of Burney Friday afternoon, Feb. 19.

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Yesterday’s incidents began around 11:44 a.m., when Burney Fire personnel contacted 27-year-old, Lucas Alexander Murphy, from the Los Angeles area, near the corner of SR-299E and Marquette Street, Shasta County Sheriff’s Sergeant Tim Estes later said of the incidents and arrests.

Murphy was lighting trash and vegetation on fire in a wooded area southeast of the intersection and fled on foot when fire personnel approached him, according to Estes. 

Fire personnel quickly extinguished the fire before it could spread into nearby vegetation or structures. 

Deputies from the Burney Sheriff’s Station checked the area and were unable to locate Murphy at the time.

Convicted arsonist Lucas Murphy, 27, was arrested after starting two arson fires, damaging a Redbox video dispensing machine, and resisting deputies in Burney yesterday. SCSO photo

At around 1:22 p.m., SHASCOM received a 911 call from a Dollar General employee in the 37000 block of SR-299E reporting that Murphy was punching and damaging a Redbox machine outside of their business. 

“The employee reported Murphy stopped punching the Redbox machine and then lit cardboard on fire in the parking lot,” Estes described; adding the employee was able to extinguish the fire.

Responding deputies spotted Murphy crossing the highway near Mountain View Road with Fire personnel following him from a safe distance. 

“Deputies attempted to contact Murphy and he immediately fled eastbound on Mountain View Road and entered the Burney Cemetery,” said Estes; who said Murphy was showing signs of being under the influence of a CNS stimulant. 

Deputies ordered Murphy to the ground but he refused to comply, according to Estes. 

“Murphy took a fighter’s stance while yelling at deputies,” Estes described; saying the combative felon made threats to fight deputies on scene and stated, “I‘ve punched a cop before.”

Due to Murphy still having a lighter in his hands and because he had already started two fires “and was a public safety risk (who) needed to be apprehended before he ignited another fire,” deputies deployed a Taser; at which time Murphy was taken into custody without further incident.  

Neither Murphy nor any deputies were injured during the incident and arrest, said Estes.  

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After his arrest, Murphy was booked into the Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of arson to forest land, arson during a state of emergency, resisting or obstructing a peace officer, public drug intoxication, and violation of parole.  

Online jail records indicate Murphy remains in custody where he is being held without bail.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Shasta County Sheriff’s Burney Station at (530) 245-6025. Callers can refer to incident file number 21S005785 and can remain anonymous.



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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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