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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Eastern District of Michigan

For Immediate Release

December 1, 2011

Barbara L. McQuade, United States Attorney

Contact: Gina Balaya, Public Information Officer
(313) 226-9758

Detroit Man Sentenced for Arson in August 2010 Blaze that Injured 7 Detroit Firefighters

A 41–year–old Detroit man was sentenced today to 15 years after having been found guilty of one count of Malicious Use of Fire Resulting in Injury on July 8, 2011 by a federal jury in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. Ms. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Acting Special Agent in Charge William Temple, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Calvin Raymond Jones’ sentencing comes after he was convicted at a trial that lasted two weeks and was conducted before United States District Judge John Corbertt O’Meara in Ann Arbor. The jury of 8 men and 4 women deliberated for less than 30 minutes before returning the guilty verdict.

According to the evidence presented at trial, in August 2010, Jones aided and abetted Co–Defendant Samson Wright with a plan to burn a Metro PCS store located at the intersection of Jefferson and Drexel in Detroit. Detroit firefighters responded to the scene during which the ceiling and roof of the second floor burned completely through and the second story wall of the structure collapsed. It fell on 6 firefighters who were attempting to fight the fire and force entry into the first story businesses. The firefighters suffered critical injuries and some have not been able to return to work yet.

An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms National Response Team determined that the fire was ignited with an accelerant later determined to be gasoline that had been placed into the structure through a hole in a brick wall that had been created earlier the day before the fire.

Calls to the ATF Tipline and extensive investigation by ATF agents and members of the Detroit Fire Department identified Wright and, later Jones, as the two who had started the fire.

United States Attorney McQuade stated, Mr. Jones caused life–changing injuries to these firefighters, and destroyed small businesses. This sentence won’t heal the firefighters’ injuries, but we hope that it will cause others to think twice before committing arson in the future.

The statute under which Mr. Jones was convicted carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years and a maximum sentence of 40 years.

McQuade praised the work of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Detroit Fire Department and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office who all worked together to bring these men to justice.

Assistant United States Attorneys John O’Brien and Jeanine Brunson prosecuted the case for the United States.