Men arrested on suspicion of firebombing house

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- What may have been the second incident in a feud-like episode landed a former 27-year-old Poplar Bluff man in jail facing possible charges of first-degree arson, first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

The first episode is still under investigations, police said.

"A prior relationship and arrest sparked the second incident," police investigators said.

Michael Prozell Blackmon, 27, of Kansas City, Mo., was arrested at 6:15 a.m. Monday on suspicion that he threw Molotov cocktails -- fire bombs -- into a residence at 1201 N. Fifth St.

Police investigators said they found evidence of a structure fire, apparently started when gasoline-filled bottles were lighted on fire and thrown at the house about 5 a.m. Monday. Also, "multiple shell casings" were found on the roadway. Two cars parked under a carport had been shot multiple times plus multiple bullet holes were found in the "structure of the house."

Poplar Bluff firefighters, who were called to the scene to extinguish fires from the Molotov cocktails, told police they found charred and broken bottles in front of the house and on top of the carport.

The victim, Tosha Mead, told investigators she was awakened in the living room to bright light coming from the bedroom. A flame was coming from the bedroom window, she told police. She woke up her boyfriend, Johnny Reed.

She ran outside and saw a man pointing a rifle at her. He shot in her direction several times.

During an interview, the victims told police they saw a vehicle that matched the suspect's traveling west on Roxie Drive. The occupants' description also matched the suspects.

Police stopped the vehicle and found that Derek Blackmon was driving the car. The passenger identified himself as Cortez Williams.

While police had the Blackmon vehicle stopped, Mead walked over and identified both men as those who fire bombed and shot up her house.

Police found an active municipal warrant for failure to abate for Blackmon, who was arrested.

The passenger, Williams, also was arrested on suspicion of providing false information. He then identified himself as Michael Blackmon.

Both were booked in the Butler County jail.

Officers searched the suspect car, but did not find any contraband during the initial search. The car was towed for further processing.

Police reports indicate that Michael Blackmon was a defendant in an earlier case with Johnny Reed as the victim.

Both Derek Blackmon and Michael Blackmon were released on bond.

Pertinent address:

1201 N. Fifth St., Poplar Bluff, Mo.

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