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Man accused of attempted second degree murder, arson arrested after standoff with SWAT teams

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An accused arsonist is facing multiple charges after allegedly setting fire to a residence in Brooksville and then engaging in a standoff with law enforcement personnel from the Hernando County and Citrus County Sheriff’s offices.

Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Spokesperson Denise Moloney said that just after 3 a.m. on July 5, deputies responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting that a house on Pryor Street in Brooksville was on fire.

By the time HCSO deputies and crews from the Brooksville Fire Department and the Hernando Fire and Rescue arrived on the scene, the entire residence was engulfed in flames, and the occupants of the residence had evacuated it.

While deputies awaited the arrival of a representative from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, a woman who was inside the residence at the time of the fire told HCSO investigators that 50-year-old James Hines, with whom she had previously had a relationship, had sent texts to her cell phone threatening to “burn the house down” with her and another victim inside.

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Personnel from the HCSO Major Case Section and the Forensic Science Unit also arrived at the Pryor Street residence, where the representative from the State Fire Marshal’s Office ruled that the blaze had been intentionally set.

After learning Hines’ address and finding out that he rode a black motorized bicycle, HCSO investigators began searching for him.

Around 10 p.m. on July 4, a witness told them that Hines, who was riding a bicycle and carrying a bag, said he was headed to the Pryor Street residence.

Later, a clerk at the Speedway gas station at 18635 Cortez Blvd, in Brooksville told deputies that Hines entered the store around 1:30 a.m. on July 5 and purchased gloves, a medical-type face mask, and $5 worth of gasoline. Before he left, Hines asked for directions to Pryor Street, the clerk said.

Around 1:15 a.m., detectives learned that Hines returned to his residence at 12218 Maripoe Rd. in Brooksville but failed to make contact with him there.

When detectives saw Hines at the residence’s interior garage door, he retreated into the house.

While they tried and failed to contact Hines via cell phone, he tried to flee through a window on the north side of the residence. Detectives observed the escape attempt and saw that Hines was armed with a handgun.

After spotting the detectives, Hines dove back through the window into the residence and screamed at the officers, and threatened to kill them.

By 1:55 on July 5, deputies began evacuating residences surrounding the crime scene and closed roads in the immediate area. Fire rescue crews were placed on standby.

Just after 2 a.m., deputies continued their attempt to contact Hines via cell phone and loudspeaker but failed. An HCSO SWAT team arrived at the scene and established a perimeter there. Members of the Crisis Response Team (CRT) took over all attempted communication with Hines.

While the standoff continued, due to the extreme heat and the length of their deployment, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) SWAT Team arrived on the scene to relieve the HCSO team at the scene.

Just after 9:30 a.m., shots were fired, and Hines was removed from his residence and taken to an area trauma center where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Hines was placed under arrest and charged with two counts of attempted murder in the first degree, first-degree arson, written threats to kill or injure, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and resisting arrest with violence.

“And there could be other charges pending further investigation,” said HCSO Public Relations Manager Denise Moloney.

Hines was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center, where he is being held in lieu of bond.

While the HCSO investigation continues, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is investigating the deputy-involved shooting.

All the deputies involved in that shooting from both Hernando and Citrus counties are on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the FDLE review.

 

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