A Thursday night fire that destroyed the West Dayton home of a man who fatally shot two teens but who has not been criminally charged is being investigated as arson, officials said.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Arson likely in Dayton house fire where 2 teens were shot, killed in August
The home at 848 Conners St. by all indications has been vacant since shortly after 17-year-olds Javier Harrison and Devin Henderson were shot to death in a detached garage on the property on Aug. 28.
The shooter, whom police have not identified, was a resident who said he heard noises coming from his garage and fired shots after encountering multiple people, officials said.
The home, which was deemed a total loss after a quick-moving blaze and apparent explosion, was vandalized last month by someone who wrote “murder” in red spray paint across the front entrance.
Thursday’s incident caused no visible damage to neighboring homes despite the severity of the fire. Dayton fire investigators have taken over the investigation.
Some of Harrison’s and Henderson’s family members, friends and other community members and activists have become increasingly frustrated that the shooter has not been arrested.
Greg Flannagan, spokesman with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s office, said prosecutors are reviewing the shooting investigation with the Dayton Police Department, but he was not aware of any scheduled date for the case to be presented to a grand jury.
A statement from the department regarding the shooting investigation stated, “The Dayton Police Department Homicide Unit investigation into the incident that occurred on Conners Street is still ongoing. When the investigation is completed, the facts gathered will be presented to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office for consideration of charges.”
The one-story home on Conners Street belongs to Victor Santana, according to county real estate records.
Dayton firefighters fought the blaze but the home was destroyed.
“It appears there had been an explosion,” said Dayton Fire Capt. Thomas Cope in the early morning hours Friday. “One of the walls appears to have been blown off the foundation.”
Scott Jacobs, fire prevention specialist with the Dayton Fire Department, said investigators were busy with the case.
“Unfortunately, we just do not have a lot of information,” Jacobs said. “I do know they are working every angle of it, whether the explosion side of it was true or not. The guys (firefighters) did say it was 100% something dangerous that they saw. Our investigators are obviously looking into that. They’re not saying yes that is was or wasn’t, though.”
Jimmy Harrison, Javier Harrison’s father, said he has no idea who or what could have started the fire and doesn’t really care, because damaged property doesn’t compare to the loss of a young boy, his son.
Jimmy Harrison said his son and Henderson had many friends and many people in the community are frustrated with the lack of justice in their deaths.
He said anyone could have torched the house if it really was arson.
He added, “That house being burnt to the ground will never add up to the hurt and the pain that me and (Henderson’s mother) have to suffer. This is something that’s going to go on for years.”
Jimmy Harrison said he will still continue to participate in weekly protests outside the house, even if it is just a pile of rubble.
Harrison said the shooter has no place in the community, regardless of whether he is charged or convicted, because he had no problem ending two teenagers' lives.
Harrison said the boys did not deserve to be shot at for at worst smoking marijuana in what looked like an abandoned garage.