Auburn man burns deputy with Molotov cocktail, then dies in shed fire, authorities say

A 41-year-old Auburn man is believed to have died from smoke inhalation after throwing a Molotov cocktail at sheriff’s deputies Tuesday morning and barricading himself in a shed that then caught fire.

About 10 a.m. Tuesday, deputies responded to a disturbance at a house in the 33100 block of East Lake Holm Drive Southeast, near Auburn, after a neighbor reported a man who lives there was “screaming at the top of his lungs,” King County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West said in a news release.

Deputies returned to the house around 1 p.m. Tuesday after a neighbor called 911 to report that the same man had thrown rocks at his house and broken his car’s windshield, according to West.

She noted that police have been called out to the man’s house numerous times due to threats, disturbances and mental-health complaints, the news release says.

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Due to the man’s history, four deputies responded to the 1 p.m. 911 call, and two of the deputies were armed with less-lethal weapons, West said. When they arrived at the man’s house, he was standing on a deck and the deputies called for him to come down, telling the man he was under arrest for vandalism, the release says.

That’s when West said the man lit a Molotov cocktail — which is typically a bottle filled with gasoline or another accelerant, with a piece of cloth stuck in the neck to act as a fuse. He threw the cocktail at the deputies, striking one of them in the face, West said.

The deputy, who suffered burns to his face and neck, had to “stop, drop and roll” to extinguish the flames burning his uniform, according to West. He was treated and released from Valley Medical Center on Tuesday.

Fire investigators have since determined flames from the Molotov cocktail spread to the shed where the man had barricaded himself; he was either unable or unwilling to escape the shed, which was quickly engulfed, West said in a Wednesday news release.

The deputies attempted to douse the flames with a garden hose and called for firefighters, who extinguished the blaze; the man’s body was found inside the shed around 7 p.m. Tuesday, West said.

A fire investigator believes the man died from smoke inhalation but it’ll be up to death investigators with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the man’s cause of death.

As of Wednesday, the man’s name had not been released by the medical…

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