Knife-wielding man charged with arson threat

March 12, 2012|By DAN DEARTH |

A knife-wielding man yelling racial slurs and carrying a Confederate flag was charged after he allegedly threatened to burn down Hagerstown Friday night, police said.

Daniel Alfred Levasseur, 56, of no fixed address, was charged with arson threat and disorderly conduct, according to the statement of probable cause obtained Monday from Washington County District Court.

Levasseur had a bond hearing by closed-circuit television from the detention center before District Judge Mark D. Thomas.

“I’m mentally disabled,” Levasseur told Thomas.

Shackled and wearing a spit guard across his mouth, Levasseur said he is bipolar and schizophrenic and had not received any medications since his arrest.

Levasseur has a lengthy criminal record that includes “contacts” with police in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Arizona, Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Kessell told Thomas. Most of his convictions are for what Kessell called “nuisance” crimes. Thomas kept Levasseur’s bail at $75,000.

“See you at church, bro,” Levasseur said at the end of the hearing.

The arson threat charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

Police said they were called at 8:08 p.m. Friday to the Sheetz gas station at 301 Dual Highway for a report of a man “carrying a large Confederate flag, brandishing a knife and yelling racial slurs.” A female customer at the gas station told police that the man was making derogatory racial comments to her and her daughter.

Documents said officers stopped the man, who identified himself as Daniel Alfred Levasseur and said he was on his way to a bar on Dual Highway. During the course of the conversation, Levasseur is alleged to have said, “I’m going to burn this (expletive) city down.”

Police called City Fire Marshal Doug DeHaven to the scene.

Levasseur was “uncooperative and told Fire Marshal DeHaven that he would see him in the fires of hell,” according to the statement of probable cause.

Police said they found a Zippo lighter and a flint fire starting device on Levasseur during a search and took him to Central Booking.

“While at Central Booking, Levasseur continued to be uncooperative, answering none of the intake questions,” the statement of probable cause said. “At this time, he threatened to burn Fire Marshal DeHaven.”

Levasseur didn’t threaten anyone with the knife, and all of the knives in his possession were determined to be legal, police said.

Staff writer Don Aines contributed to this story.

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