ST. GEORGE – A Cedar City woman was arrested Saturday and charged with felony offenses after setting fire to “everything” her apartment and biting a medical doctor.
Police responded to the report of a suspicious incident – the sound of a window breaking – at the Mountain View Real Estate building at 2045 N. Main Street in Cedar City Saturday afternoon, according to police records.
Responding officers found a window had been broken out and believed the person responsible was still inside. One of the officers also smelled smoke coming from the building and saw someone throwing items out of a window.
“The subject, who was unidentified at the time, ignored multiple commands from police …,” the officer wrote in the probable cause statement. “I observed the suspect break several windows using a skull longhorn mount.”
The suspect, a woman later identified as 47-year-old Ericka Nichols Gillette, was seen exiting the building with a large painting in hand. She also ripped electrical cords out of the back of the building, the officer wrote.
Gillette walked up to a locked gate near the police officers and started hitting the gate. She then turned around and started walking away while officers continued to tell her to stop.
Due to her ignoring police commands and destructive behavior, the officer used his stun gun against the woman and incapacitated her long enough to be taken into custody.
Officers continued to see and smell smoke coming from the basement of the building.
“Before entering the building, for our safety, officers asked the suspect what was on fire and she replied, ‘everything,’” the officer wrote. When asked if she had used gas in starting the fire, Gillette said she had.
Officers learned Gillette lived in a basement apartment of the building that she had had apparently set on fire.
Cedar City Police Sgt. Jerry Womack told St. George News Tuesday that smoke from the apartment was mostly coming from items inside that Gillette set fire to and were smoldering. Womack said he was unaware of any structural damage done to the building from the fire, which was handled by the Cedar City Fire Department.
In the presence of officers and medical personnel, Gillette said she had taken a mix of opiates, bath salts, marijuana and alcohol.
“Gillette kept yelling nonsense phrases and did not appear to be in a normal state of mind,” the officer wrote. “Gillette continued to fight even after being taken into custody.”
After being taken to the Cedar City Hospital for medical care, Gillette bit the doctor who was treating her, according to the statement.
For setting a “habitable dwelling” on fire and biting the doctor while in police custody, Gillette was charged with a first-degree felony for aggravated arson and a third-degree felony for an assault by a prisoner.
Gillette has a preliminary hearing May 23 in 5th District Court.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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