JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Johnson City Police Department officers arrested a man on attempted second-degree murder after he allegedly set a man on fire and they say they’re still asking any witnesses to come forward.
According to a JCPD news release, officers were called to the area of Montgomery Street and Fairview Avenue around 2:50 a.m. Thursday in reference to an unknown disturbance.
When they arrived, they found a man lying face down in the grass of a nearby residence with severe burns on his stomach and on his legs.
During an investigation, officers learned that the victim was involved in a fight with Anthony James Keown, 34, at a home in the 300 block of Montgomery Street.
Witnesses told police that Keown dragged a man, no identified as 47-year-old Gerald Baug, out of the home, through the street and into a neighbor’s yard, and then poured rubbing alcohol on him and set him on fire.
Officers found Keown inside the Montgomery Street home and he was arrested.
Police said the two men appears to be strangers and may have met for the first time that morning.
Bob Combs owns a home just around the corner from the alleged attack, he said the neighborhood is quiet and he’s shocked. “This is something out of the ordinary, no question about that,” Combs said.
According to the release, the victim was taken to Johnson City Medical Center but was later flown to the Burn Center at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem for treatment. No word on his condition.
Keown was first taken to the police department, where he denied committing the offense.
Police wouldn’t comment on a motive but they did say the altercation stems from another investigation they’re working on and they believe both men were drunk at the time. Investigators say the suspect does not live at the home where he was found and they believe he and Baug had a mutual friend at the home and Baug was looking for a place to stay.
Keown was charged with attempted second-degree murder and was taken to the Washington County Detention Center, where he was being held on $100,000 bond.
He was scheduled to be arraigned in Sessions Court on Friday at 10:30 a.m. If you have any information that can help investigators you’re asked to call the Johnson City Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at 423-434-6166.
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