VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Virginia Beach Fire Marshal’s office has charged a Portsmouth man with arson after they said a fire was intentionally set to an apartment over the weekend.
Jerrod Vines, 34, allegedly set a unit on fire in the 300 block of Cedarwood Court on January 2.
Authorities said the apartment was "actively burning" when they responded to the fire around 11 p.m. Saturday night.
Vines is facing a charge for one count of arson to an occupied dwelling.
“I hope they find him because that is really freaky,” said nearby neighbor Billy Fosket.
Police previously said gunshots were reported in the same area and just after the initial reports of gunshots, there was a report of a possible fire at the same location.
It’s unclear if Vines is responsible for firing the gun into that same unit that very night. The apartment unit was not occupied at the time, and there were no reported injuries.
Fosket was home when the shots rang out.
“Gunshots started off slow,” he said. “It was like, 'bang, bang, bang,' and then it picked up, became really fast.”
Fosket said the gunfire lasted about 10 seconds.
“I thought they were fireworks because they were really irregular,” he said. “Once the firetrucks and all the policemen showed up, I was like, 'Wow, these are actually gunshots.'"
Meantime, Vines has managed to elude police and is not yet in custody.
The thought of the suspect still on the loose is leaving many neighbors on edge.
“I mean my mom, my little sister... yeah, it’s a little scary,” Fosket said.
There is no further information about the fire or gunshots at this time. The investigation is ongoing.
If you have any information about this crime or any other arson, call Virginia Beach Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887). You can also submit a tip via p3tips.com.